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Amazon supports UW CSE expansion with $10 million gift

Image of CSE2Amazon and the University of Washington announced today that the company has committed $10 million to support the construction of a second building for UW CSE. The new facility, affectionately dubbed “CSE2,” will provide sufficient space for UW CSE to double annual degree production.

“The University of Washington is a world-class institution, and we are lucky to have thousands of UW graduates inventing and pioneering in Seattle – including right here at Amazon,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.

“We’re proud to support UW as they expand their computer science program, which will benefit the whole community.”

In recognition of Amazon’s generosity, UW CSE will name the 250-person auditorium and gallery on the ground floor of the building after the company.

The gift is the latest in a history of strategic investment by the company in the UW—and CSE in particular—including funding the Amazon Professorships in Machine Learning to recruit two highly sought-after faculty members to Seattle: CSE professor Carlos Guestrin and Statistics professor and CSE adjunct Emily Fox.

David Zapolsky, senior vice president and general counsel at Amazon, wrote on the company blog today about the need to expand our capacity to educate more of tomorrow’s innovators.

“We want to make sure that UW continues to educate inventors of tomorrow, and one of the best ways to do that is making sure more young people have access to high quality STEM education….we’re proud to help with a $10 million donation towards development of a new, state of the art Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) building that will double the number of graduates each year.”

The new building will be located across the street from the existing Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering on the UW’s Seattle campus. In addition to Amazon’s gift, major commitments to the project include $10 million from Microsoft, $32.5 million from the Washington State Legislature, and $9 million from the UW. LMN Architects, which designed the Allen Center, is nearing completion of the design for CSE2. Together, the two facilities will enable UW CSE to provide an unparalleled education and research experience.

UW CSE professor Ed Lazowska observed, “Over the past 20 years, Amazon has grown into one of the leading and most innovative companies in the world, UW CSE has grown into one of the leading and most innovative computer science programs in the world, and Seattle has grown into one of the one of the leading and most innovative technology hubs in the world. Amazon’s gift will help make it possible for UW CSE to prepare more of Washington’s students for careers in Washington’s booming technology sector. It’s an investment in our collective future.”

Read the UW News release here and Amazon’s blog post here. Learn more about the campaign to build CSE2 here, and view the CSE2 image gallery here. Also check out this video featuring UW CSE alum Lisa Boucher, now a senior software engineer at Amazon.com, Lazowska, and CSE chair Hank Levy talking about the company’s impact on UW and the region.

Read more about the announcement in GeekWire’s initial report and follow-up storySeattle Times, XconomyTechFlash, KUOWCrosscut and The Daily.

Thank you to Jeff, David and Amazon for your generosity and continuing partnership with UW CSE!

October 6, 2016