Early Google investor donates $7.5-million to UBC Computer Science

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UBC alumnus and Vancouver native Dr. David Cheriton has donated more than $7.5-million to the University of British Columbia’s Computer Science department.

This amounts to $7-million for an endowment to create a new chair in computer science and $535,800 to establish a new first-year course in computational thinking as part of his goal of making the skill become akin to the norm of reading and writing. The new course will be offered to students beginning in September 2016.

The gift goes towards UBC’s Start An Evolution campaign, which aims to raise $1.5-billion for the university’s research initiatives and student programs by 2015.

“I have the deepest respect for David Cheriton, a scientist and philanthropist who supports the next generation of innovators,” says UBC President Arvind Gupta in a statement. “His generosity will bolster computer science research and help UBC lead in an exciting and rapidly changing field.”

Dr. Cheriton graduated from UBC in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then earned a master’s and several PhD degrees from the University of Waterloo before becoming a professor of computer science at Stanford University, where he still teaches.

In 1998, he was one of the earliest investors of Google after writing a cheque for $100,000 to Larry Page and Sergey Brin for their creation of a new web search engine. Today, Dr. Cheriton has a net worth of an estimated $3-billion.

This is Dr. Cheriton’s second donation to UBC in recent years after giving $2-million to UBC’s Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative in 2010.

“I am excited to invest again in UBC to expand the Department of Computer Science and help them meet demands at this time of rapid growth in this field,” said Dr. Cheriton. The new chair will hopefully extend the already recognized strength of the department; the new course should make computational thinking accessible to students outside of computer science, a thinking discipline I regard as key to a 21st century education.”

 

Feature Image: UBC

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