UW Receives $30 Million From Friends of Bill and Melinda Gates

UW Receives $30 Million From Friends of Bill and Melinda Gates

The University of Washington in Seattle has announced a $30 million gift from a group of donors calling themselves the Friends of Bill and Melinda in support of a computer science and engineering building that will be named for the couple.

Projected to cost $110 million, the 135,000-square-foot Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering will be situated across the street from the university's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Expected to be complete by the end of 2018, the center will house a 3,000-square-foot robotics laboratory; wet lab space for the school's leading-edge research in molecular information systems; an undergraduate commons; a 250-seat auditorium; and a flexible venue for workshops, recruiting fairs, and other community-oriented events.

The donor group comprises Microsoft Corp. and a group of local business and philanthropic leaders who are longtime friends and colleagues of Bill and Melinda Gates. Microsoft president Brad Smith, who is leading the fundraising campaign for the building, joined with his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, and fellow campaign committee members Charles and Lisa Simonyi to spearhead the effort. Couples that made personal contributions to the gift include Jim and Catherine Allchin, Rich and Sarah Barton, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, Lloyd and Janet Frink, Craig and Marie Mundie, Satya and Anu Nadella, Jeff and Tricia Raikes, Rob Short and Emer Dooley, Harry Shum and Ka Yan Chan, Brad and Jan Silverberg, and John Stanton and Terry Gillespie. The gift also includes two previously announced contributions — a $10 million gift from Microsoft and $5 million from the Simonyis. Microsoft contributed an additional $10 million, while other couples contributed the remainder.

"We're gratified by the way the community has come together to support this project and to honor the tremendous global impact of Bill and Melinda Gates," said UW president Ana Mari Cauce. "The Gates Center will enable us to prepare more students to be the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow — and to follow the Gateses' example in seeking to positively affect people's lives and invest in communities near and far. We are thankful to this group of leaders and donors for their generosity."

(Photo credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington