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Merit Network Wins Computerworld Honors Program 21st Century Achievement Award

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program announced that Merit Network, Inc. is the winner of a 21st Century Achievement Award in recognition of the REACH-3MC Project (Rural Education Anchor Community Health care – Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative).

In an especially competitive year for the prestigious program, Merit was selected from more than 700 applicants from 29 countries to a class of 269 Computerworld Honors Laureates. Merit was then distinguished from that impressive class as a 21st Century Achievement Award Winner.
Don Welch accepts Computerworld award
Don Welch, Merit’s president and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of Merit and the REACH-3MC project. Welch was honored as both a 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureate and 21st Century Achievement Award Winner at the Computerworld Honors Program Gala Evening and Awards Ceremony held on Monday, June 3, 2013 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

“The awardees I have met are all inspiring. The work they are doing to improve society is truly impressive. We are so honored to be counted among them, and recognized as one of the winners of the 21st Century Achievement Award. This is truly an honor and a privilege to accept this award,” Welch said.

Computerworld Honors Laureates are honored for visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change. From a pool of 700 applicants, 269 Laureates across 11 different award categories were selected after a rigorous application and review process.

A panel of judges, made up of IT executives and Computerworld editors, choose the five most outstanding projects in each Laureate award category to be finalists for the 21st Century Achievement Award. The judges then select one finalist in each category as a 21st Century Achievement award winner, receiving special recognition by the Program Judges to be the very best among their peers.

Merit and the REACH-3MC Project were selected as the winner of the 21st Century Achievement Award in the Mobile Access award category.

REACH-3MC is a unique fiber-optic infrastructure build-out through rural and underserved areas of Michigan, Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. REACH-3MC improves access to digital information, programs and services for populations in its service area, and mobile access is a key byproduct of the fiber-optic infrastructure.

About The Computerworld Honors Program

Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Additional information about the program and a Global Archive of past Laureate case studies, as well as oral histories of Leadership Award recipients can be found at the Computerworld Honors website.

About Computerworld

Computerworld is the leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers, providing peer perspective, IT leadership and business results. Computerworld’s award-winning website (, bi-weekly publication, focused conference series, custom solutions and custom research forms the hub of the world’s largest (40+ edition) global IT media network and provides opportunities for IT solutions providers to engage this audience. Computerworld leads the industry with an online audience of over 3.5 million unique, monthly visitors (Omniture, August 2012) and was recognized as the Best Website by ASBPE and TABPI in 2012. Computerworld is published by IDG Enterprise, a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading media, events and research company. Company information is available at

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.