The University Record, January 18, 1993

Prechter gift funds laboratory in School of Ed

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

Waltraud and Heinz Prechter, through the World Heritage Foundation, have made a $500,000 grant to the School of Education. The grant will be used to establish the Prechter Laboratory for Interactive Technology.

The laboratory will be used to design and create highly sophisticated interactive educational materials and will provide opportunities for teachers and teacher education students to learn how to use such materials.

The laboratory will have the latest in high-quality equipment, including computers capable of multimedia database and interactive media functions such as digitized video, interactive laser disc technology, and advanced graphics and simulations. The laboratory also will have supportive equipment such as high-end video cameras, professional-quality editing equipment, microcomputer-based mini-laboratories and appropriate audio, archival and graphics devices.

“Our vision is to encourage the creation of schools that resemble highly sophisticated work places in which computing is commonplace and teachers and students use interactive technology to design and create the artifacts of education,” says School of Education Dean Cecil G. Miskel.

The Prechter Laboratory also will serve as a model for schools that wish to develop their own laboratories and for interactive technology research.

Waltraud Prechter, who received her degree in education in 1979 from the U-M, says that “world attention currently is focused on the quality of education, often in relationship to international competition and cooperation. Perhaps as at no other time, we have an opportunity to introduce changes in schools and education processes that may make a real difference. My husband and I believe the laboratory can provide the School with a means for positive, effective change.

“He and I, the officers of the World Heritage Foundation, consider this to be an important new phase in our continuing relationship with the University.”

The Prechters, residents of Grosse Isle, have been active in educational matters in southeastern Michigan and instrumental in planning for the Downriver Center for Applied Arts and Sciences.

President of the World Heritage Foundation, which is known as the “Prechter Fund,” Waltraud Prechter is a member of The Campaign for Michigan Steering Committee. Heinz Prechter is the chairman and chief executive officer of ASC Inc., in Southgate.

“We thank the Prechters for the marvelous laboratory that we can establish here,” Miskel says. “Our students and the pupils they serve will benefit significantly from the Prechters’ supportiveness and vision.”