man speaking
Dr. Brian Butz speaking at a lectern.

Though his research focused largely on artificial intelligence, longtime engineering professor Brian Butz shared a warm, decidedly more human recollection of a student when describing the impetus for the Dr. Brian & Susan Butz Endowed Scholarship.

According to Dr. Butz, following an exam, he bumped into the student in an elevator who was sobbing because she had apparently done poorly.

"I just told her not to worry, that it's just a single test and you're a smart student," Dr. Butz recalled. "She eventually went on to get her medical degree. When she came back to Philadelphia to work, she stopped by my office and recounted that story and said it made a big difference in her life. Those stories are just absolutely priceless."

Dr. Butz, himself a first-generation college student, remembered other students from his time teaching electrical and computer engineering at Temple, while also touching on the development of AI in describing the $100,000 endowed scholarship.

Established in December by Dr. Butz and his wife Susan, an alumna with two Temple degrees, the annual scholarship provides for an academically qualified undergraduate student with demonstrated financial need, with preference given to a student with interest in either software development, AI Development Systems, health education software, or a similar field.

This follows Dr. Butz's research areas, where he led the college's Intelligent Systems Application Center. Among other projects, Dr. Butz directed research funded by the National Science Foundation focusing on individualized tutoring, as well as a National Cancer Institute-funded project with Fox Chase Cancer Institute to develop an interactive program to assist prostate cancer patients.

Butz was honored by Temple with the Lindback Award for Teaching in 1984 and the Great Teacher Award in 2000, an honor he noted at the time represented validation by the university of the importance it places on teaching.

"It was part of what I admire about Temple's mission and the university community," Dr. Butz said. "Peter Liacouras (Temple's 7th president) used to say that 'if Temple didn't exist it would have to be invented.' It's something special."

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