New UW computer science and engineering building named for Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates and Paul Allen were once the bad boys of the University of Washington’s computer science lab. Now, the school’s buildings are named in their honor.

Forty-six years ago, the director of the computer science lab at the University of Washington kicked high-school students Bill Gates and Paul Allen out for hogging the teletype machines and swiping an acoustic coupler.

So it is perhaps a special irony that on Thursday, the UW’s regents board — which had already named the computer science school and one building after Allen — named the school’s newest $110 million building after Gates and his wife, Melinda.

It will become the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, across from the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering.

Buildings named after Gates family members on other campuses

• Stanford: Gates Computer Science Building

• Carnegie Mellon: Gates Center for Computer Science

• University of Texas at Austin: Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex

• Cornell: Bill & Melinda Gates Hall

• MIT: Gates Tower of the Ray & Maria Stata Center

• Cambridge: William Gates Building (named for Gates’ father)

• Harvard: Maxwell Dworkin Laboratory (the maiden names of the mothers of Bill Gates and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer)

University of Washington

Buildings are often named after the person who donated the most money to build them, but not this time. Although the Gates family and its foundation have given more than $1.25 billion to the UW for such things as global health, research, scholarships and a new law school building — the foundation and the family haven’t contributed money to this project.

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Instead, some of the city’s most well-heeled tech leaders got together and, calling themselves “the friends of Bill and Melinda,” agreed to donate $30 million toward the project and…

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