Friends Donate $30 Million Toward Gates Center at University of Washington

By Douglas Belkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Friends of Bill and Melinda Gates donated $30 million to name a computer science building at the University of Washington after the first couple of Microsoft Corp., the school said Thursday.

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Microsoft President Brad Smith is leading the fundraising campaign for the building, which will total $110 million. The $30 million comes from a group of tech giants, including Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, Zillow Group Inc. co-founders Richard Barton and Lloyd Frink, Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella and Charles Simonyi, the architect of Microsoft Word.

The 135,000-square-foot building will sit across the street from another computer science building named after Mr. Gates's Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

"There is wonderful symbolism in having" the two computing centers in such proximity on the campus, said Mr. Smith in a statement. "As teenagers, Bill and Paul roamed UW computer labs. They went on to change the face of Seattle and the world -- first with Microsoft, and later with their philanthropy."

The facility will include a 3,000-square-foot robotics laboratory; wet lab space to house the school's research in molecular information system; an undergraduate commons and a 250-seat auditorium. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. The gifts are part of a $5 billion fundraising campaign.

Write to Douglas Belkin at doug.belkin@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 12, 2017 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)