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Transformative gift to DePaul University renames College of Computing and Digital Media

Donation from Eugene P. Jarvis and Sasha Gerritson is largest in university’s history

Sasha Gerritson and Eugene P. Jarvis
Sasha Gerritson (MUS ’99) and Eugene P. Jarvis made a legacy gift to the College of Computing and Digital Media. It is the largest gift in university history. (Photo by Tom Vangel)
CHICAGO — Eugene P. Jarvis, a trailblazer in the video game industry, and his wife Sasha L. Gerritson (MUS ’99), a DePaul trustee and alumna, are advancing DePaul University’s innovative College of Computing and Digital Media to the next level with a landmark gift, the largest in the university’s history.

In recognition of the couple’s generosity and leadership, the college will be renamed the Eugene P. Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media, located on the Loop Campus in downtown Chicago. Their gift will create the Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration, as well as an endowed scholarship and a research collaboration with the Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness.

“Eugene and Sasha’s legacy gift ensures CDM will continue to empower generations of student leaders and innovators for years to come, helping build a brighter collective future,” said A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president of DePaul University. “On behalf of our students and the entire DePaul family, I thank them for this transformative act of generosity that will have a profound impact on our students, as well as the Chicago community and industries nationwide.”

With 5,465 undergraduate and graduate students, CDM offers nationally ranked, cutting-edge programs including computer science, cybersecurity, data science, game design, graphic design, film, animation and more. The gift builds on the remarkable success and growth of CDM, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021 and includes the School of Computing, School of Design and School of Cinematic Arts.

“Sasha and I are thrilled to help one of DePaul’s most exciting, vital colleges expand its innovative, collaborative, hands-on programs,” Jarvis said.

A shared legacy of success, progress and partnership
The gift to CDM continues Jarvis’ and Gerritson’s history of support and immersive leadership at DePaul. In 2008, Jarvis was named the first game designer in residence at CDM, where he provided guidance at the outset of the gaming program and worked side-by-side with student game developers. Jarvis is an icon in the video game industry. Starting in the 1970s at Atari and Williams, he programmed some of their earliest microprocessor-powered pinball and video arcade games. Jarvis’ best-known creations include Defender, Robotron: 2084, Smash TV, and Cruis’n. He continues his passion for arcade games at the Raw Thrills design and development studio, which marked its 20th anniversary in 2021.

Allen Turner talks to a student
Game design faculty member Allen Turner works with a student in CDM. Students, faculty and the community will come together in the new Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration. (DePaul University)

Gerritson, a member of DePaul’s Board of Trustees, chaired Now We Must: The Campaign for DePaul’s Students, a fundraising effort that raised nearly $125 million from the DePaul community to support students’ most urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple previously made a gift to create the Sasha and Eugene Jarvis Opera Hall, a state-of-the-art opera performance space at DePaul’s School of Music, and has given to DePaul’s Opera Theatre Endowment, Fund for Global Homelessness and Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies.

“It’s been thrilling to help grow DePaul’s pioneering video game design program for the last 15 years and see it expand and flourish into one of the world’s foremost game design programs,” says Jarvis. “At the same time, the College of Computing and Digital Media has vastly expanded its creative palette, embracing the School of Design and School of Cinematic Arts. Guided by Dean David Miller and the accomplished faculty, CDM is laser-focused on the emerging creative industries and technologies of tomorrow, to give students the edge they need to innovate and thrive as future creators and professionals.”

Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration
Located at the DePaul Center on the university’s Loop Campus, the Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration will connect students with industry professionals, creators and experts-in-residence. It will be a locus of interdisciplinary activity that inspires both faculty- and student-led curricular and extra-curricular innovation and strengthens the academia-to-industry pipeline.

“The Jarvis Student Center will be an evolving and multifunctional space that builds community among the School of Computing, School of Design and School of Cinematic Arts,” said Miller, dean of CDM. “We want spillover outside the classroom and studio spaces, and to see students hanging out and making this their own. We want to encourage innovation and collaboration in multiple ways. The game studio is one such example.”

Student uses VR headset
The Eugene P. Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media offers hands-on, innovative programs. (DePaul University/Stephanie Nikola​s)

Game development draws contributors from all three of CDM’s schools, and the DePaul Originals Game Studio will move into the center as its first initiative. DOGS simulates a professional video game studio where students develop a single game across academic quarters until it’s polished enough for public release. DOGS also extends its game-development mentorship to high school teachers and students in the Chicago Public Schools system.

Furthering the connection to the local community, CDM’s PUSH Studio will also move into the center, working with social-impact organizations and businesses. The interdisciplinary studio uses human-centered design methods to solve real-world problems. Students and faculty partner with industry professionals to drive new solutions using artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and voice user interfaces.

Connecting DePaul’s mission
The gift also endows the Eugene P. Jarvis CDM Scholars Program, which will provide recognition and significantly expand financial assistance to emerging talents at both undergraduate and graduate levels, welcoming motivated students of all backgrounds to CDM.

“Making higher education accessible to the next generation—a core objective of DePaul’s Vincentian mission—has never been more important to us,” Gerritson said. “We want to enable DePaul students to dream big and to put their creativity and skills to use in a way that benefits society.”

Another area of innovation from the gift is a new collaboration between DePaul’s Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness and CDM. The institute leads a global movement to end street homelessness by bridging the gap among research, policy and practice. CDM students, mentored by faculty, will help IGH and its partners in cities worldwide better understand and combat homelessness through a comprehensive tool kit of specializations that includes big data analytics, statistical modeling and user-experience design.

“Eugene’s and Sasha’s active involvement in the lives of our students goes far beyond their extraordinary philanthropy,” said Gerald Beeson, chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. “Our students have also had the incredible benefit of sharing in their expertise, artistry and creativity as a powerful motivation for their success along similar career paths.”

About DePaul University
DePaul University provides exceptional academics and real-world experiences to prepare students for a changing world. With nearly 22,000 students and some 300 academic programs, DePaul has two campus locations in Chicago. Students richly benefit from the city’s many opportunities. In turn, DePaul is one of the forces that shapes Chicago’s future. The university was founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul is among the nation’s top universities for diversity because of its long tradition of providing a high-quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds. Today, DePaul is the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. Visit to learn more.


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