Oculus CEO Donates a Record $31 Million to University of Maryland for a VR Lab
Brendan Iribe's donation is the largest the school has ever received, and will go towards construction on the "Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation."
Virtual reality headset Oculus Rift developer Oculus VR's $2 billion sale to Facebook deepened the pockets of many of the company's top executives. One of those people, CEO Brendan Iribe, is now giving some of that money away.
Today, the University of Maryland announced that Iribe--an alumnus--has donated $31 million to help fund the construction of the "Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation" on the school's campus in College Park, Maryland. Iribe's gift is the largest the school has ever received.
The majority of Iribe's gift, $30 million, will be put toward the construction of the new science and innovation center, designed for "cutting-edge work in virtual reality, augmented reality, computer vision, robotics, and future computing platforms." The remaining $1 million will be used to established the "Brendan Iribe Scholarship" program for Computer Science.
"I’ve always wanted to give back to the school and public education system, and I hope this building will shape the future of computer science students at the university," Iribe said in a statement. "The space is designed for hackers, makers, and engineers, which will help give rise to future breakthroughs, products, and startups that will transform the way we live and interact with the world around us."
Iribe wasn't the only Oculus VR employee to give to UMD. Oculus co-founder and chief software architect, Michael Antonov--a classmate of Iribe's--is making a gift of $4 million. The bulk of this donation, $3.5 million, will help in the construction of Iribe's building, while $500,000 will go towards scholarships. Meanwhile, Brendan Iribe's mother, Elizabeth Iribe, gave $3 million to establish two endowed chairs in the school's department of computer science.
The Iribe Center will feature "specialized labs" to support research into VR, AR, artificial intelligence, robots, computer vision, and human interaction. Students will benefit, the school says, from classrooms designed "specificaly for interactive, collaborative, and active learning."
According to Iribe, his $31 million gift allows UMD to be "one of the leading institutions for virtual reality in the world." No details were provided regarding when the building will open or what it will look like.
Oculus Rift remains an in-development product with no word yet on when the consumer version will be available or what it will cost.
Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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