UW News

February 19, 2002

UW’s new computer science building named for Paul G. Allen

Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has given $14 million to the University of Washington to ensure the completion of a new facility for the university’s nationally ranked Department of Computer Science & Engineering, officials announced this evening.

The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, currently under construction on the UW campus, will more than double the space available for the program when it opens in summer 2003. Sixty percent of the funding for the project is being raised privately; other major donors include Allen’s boyhood friend and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Microsoft Corp. itself, and several dozen individuals and organizations from the region’s technology and venture capital communities.

“Bill and I got a big part of our start in computer science at the University of Washington when we were still students at Lakeside School,” Allen said. “UW Computer Science & Engineering is an engine of opportunity and we want to help make sure it’s an even more cutting-edge resource for the coming generation.”

UW President Richard L. McCormick called the gift a generous investment in the region’s educational and economic future.

“We are very grateful to Paul for his support and trust in us,” McCormick said. “Historically, UW CSE has been a major driver of technology in the region. Paul’s gift, as well as the gifts from the Gates Foundation, Microsoft and our other supporters will pay dividends for the entire state far into the future.”

Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science at the UW and head of the department from 1993 to 2001, agreed, saying the gift will provide the means to keep the UW program among the nation’s best.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Paul, to Bill and the Gates Foundation, and to all our other donors for providing us with the tools to remain competitive,” Lazowska said. “We’re consistently ranked among the top ten programs in the nation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, but we’ve been operating with less than half the space of comparable programs at a time when the field is becoming more laboratory-intensive and student demand and intellectual opportunity are greater than ever.”

The building will provide 75,000 square feet of new space for the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and an additional 10,000 square feet of space for the university’s Department of Electrical Engineering. Laboratory space for Computer Science & Engineering will triple. The result, according to Lazowska, will be greater success in recruiting top students and faculty, and education and research programs that better reflect the experimental and interdisciplinary nature of the cutting edge of the field.

Allen’s gift brings the total in private support for the building to $37 million. That, with $30 million in institutional and state money, puts the $72 million building within reach. But the fund-raising drive has further to go, officials say – a viable, vibrant program includes more than bricks and mortar.

“The Computer Science & Engineering campaign also includes $3 million in technology for the building and $20 million in endowments for scholarships, fellowships and professorships to attract top students and faculty,” Lazowska said. “These components are essential for our program to hold its place among the nation’s best and to continue to energize the regional economy. Our friends and alumni have already contributed $7 million toward this part of the effort, and we’re confident they will help us finish the campaign.”

The CSE fundraising campaign is led by Tom Alberg (Madrona Venture Group) and Jeremy Jaech (UW CSE alumnus and co-founder of Aldus and Visio). Thus far, the campaign has raised more than $15 million in addition to the gifts from Allen, Gates, and Microsoft.


About Paul G. Allen

Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen owns and invests in a suite of companies that change and improve the way people live, learn, do business and experience the world. Holdings span software, hardware, telecommunications, biotechnology, and new media, and include Charter Communications, DreamWorks SKG, digeo, Wink, TechTV and more than 50 other companies. Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks NFL and Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchises, and is the founder of independent film production company Clear Blue Sky Productions – behind such critically-acclaimed feature and documentary projects as THE BLUES (currently in production with Martin Scorsese), TITUS (directed by Julie Taymor) and the EVOLUTION project, co-produced with the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit for PBS. He founded the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, The Hospital Project – a music, art and film center in London – and gives back to the community through the six Paul G. Allen Foundations in the areas of the arts, health and human services, medical research, forest protection and more. Allen is chairman of Vulcan Inc. of Seattle, which manages his personal and business projects, including a range of high-impact initiatives around the world. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, served as the company’s chief technologist until leaving the company in 1983, and remains Microsoft’s second-largest shareholder. Learn more online at www.paulallen.com.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people’s lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates’ father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an asset base of $24.2 billion. For complete information, visit www.gatesfoundation.org.

For more information, contact Lazowska at (206) 499-0303 (cell) or lazowska@cs.washington.edu. The media contact for Allen is Jason Hunke, (206) 342-2000 or jasonh@vulcan.com.

More information about the new building, including a watercolor of the finished project and photographs of Allen, Gates, Gov. Gary Locke and UW leaders celebrating the naming of the building, can be found at the following locations:

Architectural renderings, sketches and a high-resolution watercolor of the Allen Center for CSE:

Photographs of Allen, Gates and UW leaders include a shot of Allen and Gates reminiscing about their Lakeside School days, coming to the UW campus to use computers. From the left are UW Dean of Engineering Denice Denton; Ark Chin, president of the UW Board of Regents; Locke; Gates; Allen; Lazowska; and McCormick: www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/images/reminiscing.jpg.

Also available is an image of the group viewing a watercolor of the finished project. From left are Denton, Chin, Locke, Gates, McCormick, Allen and Lazowska: www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/images/naming.jpg.

UW CSE building page: