Alumnus, NVIDIA Founder Pledges $30 Million for Campus Engineering Center14 Sep, 2008
Construction on the Jen-Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center is slated for completion in 2010.
The Stanford School of Engineering announced last week that NVIDIA CEO and founder Jen-Hsun Huang, a Stanford electrical engineering alumnus, will donate $30 million to help build a modern and sustainable destination for education and research.
The 130,000-square-foot building, already under construction and expected to be completed in the first half of 2010, is designed to encourage a vibrant academic and social atmosphere for people throughout the Stanford community.
"The School of Engineering at Stanford is a major source of intellectual energy for Silicon Valley and beyond," said Huang, who earned his master's degree in electrical engineering at Stanford in 1992. "I am proud to help the school build a headquarters that embodies its plans for the future -- a place that encourages people to come together to create the next generation of knowledge and technology."
Jim Plummer, dean of the School of Engineering, said Huang's accomplishment in making NVIDIA a leading technology company is a good example of the kind of engineering entrepreneurship and leadership the school hopes to instill in students.
"As we've strived to build a culture of collaboration and innovation to meet the goals of solving problems through research and educating leaders, we've realized the need for a physical center to focus that aspiration," Plummer said. "We are grateful to Jen-Hsun for making this a reality."
A Campus Destination
The Huang Center is the second building to take shape in the Science and Engineering Quad (SEQ), just west of the university's Main Quad. Ultimately SEQ (formerly known as SEQ2) will also include centers for nanotechnology, bioengineering, and chemical engineering.
"This new quad is the enabler of the school's and university's goals to tackle the big problems; energy, environment, and human health," Plummer said. "The school's historic strength in information technology will be foundational to our efforts in these areas."
The Huang Center's most prominent architectural feature is in keeping with its mission to be an attractive campus destination: a four-story rotunda housing a completely re-imagined, nearly digital library, a large conference center, and a cafe. Tucked between the rotunda and the main body of the building will be a terraced amphitheater leading to a well-outfitted commons of workshops, meeting rooms, and other student workspaces.
Plummer said the commons area forms a particularly striking example of how the school is rethinking engineering education. By giving students ample facilities to imagine, design, prototype, and share their ideas, the commons will encourage the creative, entrepreneurial, and team-based aspects of engineering, he added.
The library is another example of the school's new educational direction. Over time, the library's collection will become entirely digital and therefore accessible from anywhere. Instead of being a place where students have to go to find a book or journal, the library will become a place they want to go for expert advice on how to conduct their research or to find quiet study space.
In addition, the center will house the Department of Management Science and Engineering, the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, and the dean's office.
Throughout the Huang Center, interactive displays and exhibits will showcase the school's past, present, and future. The aim, Plummer said, is to inspire ingenuity and the desire to imagine a brighter future.
"It's going to be a really exciting project," he added.