Home What's Brewing? Paul Allen Endows University of Washington with $40 Million for Computer Science

Paul Allen Endows University of Washington with $40 Million for Computer Science

Microsoft will add another $10 million in honor of Mr. Allen’s donation, raising the gift to $50 million overall.


In what some are already calling a historic act of philanthropy that will put the UW and Seattle region at the forefront of the technology revolution for decades to come, Paul G. Allen will donate $40 million to the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering program in order to double the number of students the program can enroll.

Earlier this year, Zillow pledged $5 million toward a new UW computer science building and Google quietly pledged $10 million for “a mix of support for research projects and research facilities.”  

Amazon pledged $10 million in October of 2016. In addition, longtime philanthropists Charles and Lisa Simonyi have given a $5 million gift to the University of Washington’s Seattle campus to complete the second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building.  The state of Washington is putting in $17.5 million.

The Allen donation is not earmarked for the construction of the new CSE building that will include classrooms and collaborative spaces, expanded research labs, a 250-seat auditorium (to be called the Amazon Auditorium and Gallery) and flexible event space, but to educate more students in the computer sciences.

The second CSE  building will rise east of the university’s existing computer-science building, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. More than 60 percent of the money raised so far has come from private sources.

Allen’s philanthropic initiatives have literally transformed the skyline and landscape of the city of Seattle, from the iconoclastic architecture of what is today known as MoPOP, the Museum of Pop Culture, (formerly known as  the Experience Music Project), in Seattle Center, to the headquarters of Amazon in the South Lake Union district, a building which was acquired for $1.16 billion.  At the other end of town, Allen invested $130 million, plus cost overruns, for the construction of Century Link Field, home to the Allen-owned Seattle Seahawks.

Allen also donated $20 million to the Seattle Public Library, earmarking $15 million for books and other materials and $5 million to go toward building the children’s center in the landmark Central Library. His development company, Vulcan, also refurbished the Cinerama movie theater with state-of-the-art Dolby sound and projection systems, including the world’s first Christie 6P laser projector. It reopened in the fall of 2014. [24×7]