The University of Maryland has announced a $9 million gift from professor emeritus Michael Brin, his wife, Eugenia, and the Sergey Brin Family Foundation in support of campus-wide efforts to reimagine education in the performing arts.
The gift from the parents of UMD alumnus and Google co-founder Sergey Brin to the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies will establish the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance, support research initiatives, and fund new teaching positions, undergraduate scholarships, classroom and studio renovations, and instructional technology. Named for Michael Brin's mother, who emigrated with her family from the Soviet Union in 1979 and taught in UMD's Russian program for nearly a decade, the institute will prepare graduates for careers in emerging media formats such as webcasts, immersive design technology, and virtual reality performance.
The Brins' previous gifts to UMD include support for the university's computer science and math departments and Russian and dance programs. "I want to...open opportunities to the students and faculty in interactions between new media and traditional art," said Michael Brin, who retired in 2011 after thirty-one years as a member of the UMD mathematics faculty.
The Maya Brin Institute is "giving us the opportunity not only to experiment with new technology, but to innovate new processes to create performance," said Jared Mezzocchi, associate professor of dance and theatre design and production. "This is a glorious opportunity for our school to reach its goals as part of a Research I institution: taking what we have explored technologically throughout the pandemic and launching us into a future of accessible, immersive, interactive, and multidisciplinary performance."