Newswise — NORMAN, OKLA. – Charles Jones, a 1969 graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Industrial Engineering, has made a $2.4 million gift to establish the Charles R. Jones Endowed Chair in Data Science and Analytics.

Originally, Jones and his wife of 36 years, Madelaine Pfau, made plans to contribute to the OU School of Industrial and Systems Engineering upon their passing. But when Madelaine’s life was cut short by breast cancer in June of 2019, he decided to move forward with a portion of the gift, both in honor of his wife’s memory and so he could personally witness the impact of their investment.

“Both Madelaine and I were committed to giving back to the schools and programs in higher education that had meant so much to our journeys through life,” Jones said. “Data science and analytics is a critical asset for today’s students. I want our graduates to be prepared and ready to lead in their careers because of the training they will receive at OU’s Gallogly College.” 

The Charles R. Jones Endowed Chair in Data Science and Analytics will provide students with an expert professor in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Students will benefit from research opportunities and will be equipped to solve diverse challenges in the workplace, in sectors ranging from industry, energy, health care or government. The experience, knowledge and leadership from the person in this position will benefit students from across the Gallogly College of Engineering, as they will have the opportunity to learn from a nationally renowned expert in the field. Additionally, the position will greatly enhance the college’s research impact in this area.

“This transformational gift makes our School of Industrial and Systems Engineering a continued leader in the area of data science and analytics, giving students the hands-on experience and training required to make them rise to the top of recruiter’s hiring lists,” said OU Gallogly College of Engineering Dean John Klier. “Charles and his late wife, Madelaine’s, investment will continue to equip ISE students for many generations.”

“While the Data Science and Analytics Institute is administered by both the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the School of Computer Science, it is Charles’ leadership on the ISE Advisory Board and his advocacy and passion that led to the institute’s development and execution,” said Randa Shehab, associate dean for academic affairs.

Charles Jones and Madeleine Pfau didn’t meet while MBA classmates at the Harvard Business School, but their paths did cross in 1977, while living in Dallas. Pfau was a management consultant and served for 15 years as a managing partner at the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Jones started his career as an industrial engineer for Procter & Gamble and went on to become a partner at consulting firms McKinsey and Price Waterhouse. Jones is a longtime member of the advisory board for the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Board of Visitors for the Gallogly College of Engineering.