Bill Gates Stanford Dedication – Jan. 30, 1996

Bill Gates Stanford Dedication 1/30/96

STANFORD – Tuesday, January 30, 1996 Bill Gates, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., Tuesday dedicated the Gates Computer Science Building at Stanford, for which he provided the lead gift of $6 million in 1992. About 200 guests attended the 1 p.m. ceremony in the $38.4 million building, which includes a main section with state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and research facilities, and joining office wing. In making the naming gift for the building – which provides a unified working space for the first time for one of the nation’s leading computer science departments.

Gates joins a handful of non-alumni donors who have buildings named for them on the Stanford campus. Gates said he made the gift to Stanford, a school with which he had no formal previous association, because he wanted to
“invest in the future of the industry, and Stanford is one of the five best computer science schools in the country.”
The building, under construction since August 1994, has been open since mid-December, although finishing touches continued right up until the day of the ceremony.

The dedication originally was supposed to be a public affair held outside, but wind and rain forced it inside. John Hennessy, professor and chairman of computer science, remarked on the importance of the new building to his department’s academic future.
“The speed of technological change demands that the intellectual as well as the physical learning environment must be equal to the task,”
Hennessy said.
“This means proximity, meeting places, interaction and debate. This building, which brings together – under one roof – so many varied disciplines in computing.will go a long way toward advancing computer science, and justifying Bill’s faith in us.”

Hennessy noted that previous non-alumni building donors – such as Margaret Jacks, Cecil H. Green and Mrs. Roscoe Maples – had lived to ripe ages, and expressed his hopes that
“there is a direct correlation between the longevity of (the donors) and their generosity to Stanford.”
President Gerhard Casper noted that the Gates Computer Science Building is not in isolation,

since the nearby Center for Integrated Systems extension is nearing completion, and plans are for the university to erect a new Electrical Engineering building as part of a new Science and Engineering Quadrangle project.

That project was made possible by a record $77.4 million gift by Silicon Valley pioneers and Stanford alumni David Packard and William Hewlett (both of whom were expected for the dedication and an academic symposium that followed.)
“The beginning that we are celebrating today with the dedication of the William Gates Computer Science Building will result in a unified and coherent complex with a logic of its own,”
Casper said.
“It is supported by two of our oldest and most dedicated friends (Hewlett and Packard), by other long-standing friends of Stanford, and by new friends, including Bill Gates, who did not even attend Stanford.”

Bill Gates, though, had at least enough good sense to drop out of Harvard,

Casper said. James Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering, thanked Gates and the other major donors who helped make the Gates Computer Science Building – including Erik Johsson, the founder of Texas Instruments, and corporations such as AT & T, Cisco Systems, Digital Equipment Corporation, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Silicon Graphics and Toshiba, and the volunteers of the Engineering School Venture Fund. Gibbons, who this summer will step down as dean and take on the position of special counsel to the president and provost for industry relations, said Stanford had high hopes for the role the Gates Building will play in the future of computer science

“The building is too new yet to have its own special history and patina, but it won’t take the students too long to rectify that,”
Gibbons said.
“So here is my prediction: within the next 18 months something will happen here, and there will be some place, some office, some corner, where people will point and say, ‘Yeah, that’s where they worked on the (blank) in 1996 and 1997.’ And you will know it was a big deal. You will read about it.”
It should be a grand future.

Related Posts