The University Record, July 3, 2000

Gift funds LS&A professorship in wireless telecommunications

From LS&A

Alumni Constance Friedman Pohs (AB ’49) and Arnold C. Pohs (AB ’48) of Denver have made a $1.5 million gift to LS&A to establish an endowed professorship for the study of the social ramifications, global applications and comparative policies of wireless telecommunication technologies.

The Pohses, both native New Yorkers, met at Michigan as students. Arnold Pohs pursued a career on Wall Street, then established his own consulting practice. During this consultancy, he discovered his passion for wireless communications and was involved in various activities within the emerging cellular communications industry in Colorado. He was one of the founders of CommNet Cellular Inc. in 1983 and was for many years known as “The Cellular King of Rural America.”

He and his wife have been active in a number of community and professional organizations, including the Cellular Telecommunications Association, the Foundation for Wireless Communications, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and Children’s Hospital in Denver.

With this gift to the U-M, the Pohses hope to support the development of an innovative curriculum that will address issues of wireless technologies and its various applications. “I see Michigan as being on the cutting edge of research, and teaching young people about the ways this technology will change the world,” says Arnold Pohs. “Constance and I have been so richly rewarded by the wireless telecommunications industry that we wanted to share with the students of the University the ability for them to participate in this burgeoning field.”

The professorship, to be named the Constance F. and Arnold C. Pohs Endowed Professorship in Telecommunications, will be in the Department of Communication Studies.

“This generous fund established by the Pohses is a significant commitment to one of the fundamental issues we must address as a center of research and teaching,” states President Lee C. Bollinger. “The information revolution is a phenomenon that transcends the Internet. Constance and Arnold Pohs’ insightful gift is crucial in helping us discover the profound consequences of wireless communications technology and the exponential increase in human communications that it will mean for our world.”

LS&A Dean Shirley Neuman notes that the gift’s impact will strengthen her plans for curricular expansion and research in the area of information technology.

“It is essential,” she says, “that we understand and teach how information technology, and in particular wireless technology, works; how to use it; and what its economic, political, social, psychological and cultural impacts are. This generous gift is an important way of helping us to further such understanding and teaching.”

The Pohs say they enjoyed their student days at the University and want to ensure that Michigan’s academic excellence continues for present and future students. “It is our desire that Michigan’s students will always be on the cutting edge of the greatest growth industry of the 21st century, telecommunications.”