Bill Gates – philanthropist, billionaire, entrepreneur and former chief executive of Microsoft – visited the University of Texas campus today to take part in the opening ceremonies of UT's new computer science building.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall – or GDC for short – cost the university $120 million to build. The Gates Foundation donated $30 million to the project and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation donated $10 million. The new complex is 140,000 square feet and contains "research clusters" to encourage collaborative work.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon, UT President Bill Powers thanked Gates and the Dell family. Michael and Susan Dell could not attend the ceremony, but Zachary Dell spoke on behalf of the whole Dell family.
Following an introduction from Powers, Gates called UT one of the greatest schools in the world.
"Not only is it a top ranked computer science instruction, it also is either one of the best or the very best at reaching out to get kids interested in the field," Gates said. "It is particularly noticeable of the outreach done to Hispanic students and women."
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Gates gave a speech to an auditorium full of UT computer science students about the state of the field of computer science. He also took questions from students following his talk. At the talk, Gates said he was envious of students currently entering computer science.
“It is going to be a lot of things with a very rich computer science enabled digital background that will let us move forward," Gates said. So I hope all of you will dream very big dreams.” Gates is scheduled to speak tomorrow at South by Southwest EDU.
UT’s Computer Science department houses more than 1,700 undergraduate students and produces 20 percent of computer science graduates in Texas.