The grant will support a $110 million campaign for a new 130,000-square-foot building for the university's computer science and engineering programs, providing the space needed for UW to double, to more than six hundred, the number of degrees awarded annually by its Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Named in recognition of the gift and expected to open in January 2019, the 250-seat Amazon Auditorium and Gallery will include classrooms, research and a 3,000-square-foot robotics lab, a maker space, and an undergraduate commons.
A longtime supporter of the university, Amazon established two $1 million endowed professorships in the CSE in 2012 to assist in the recruitment of two machine-learning faculty members. Last fall, the company also launched the Amazon Catalyst program, a collaboration with select universities aimed at identifying, funding, and supporting bold, risky projects.
"Our state's economy — and the world's economy — depends on innovation and on innovators. UW graduates with skills in computer science are highly sought after, yet we are turning away excellent students who want to pursue studies in the field because we simply don't have enough room," said UW president Ana Mari Cauce. "This generous gift from Amazon brings us closer to doubling our capacity and allows us to better meet both student and workplace needs, which will benefit our state and nation."