Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Facebook’s Oculus VR division, dedicated the launch of a new computer science building at the University of Maryland over the weekend. On Facebook, he wrote that he attended the groundbreaking of the new Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, which includes the computer science building, Antonov Auditorium and Reisse Park. The latter was named after an Oculus cofounder, Andrew Reisse, who died three years ago.
Reisse was struck and killed by a speeding vehicle in 2013. He was in the middle of a crosswalk in Santa Ana, California, when a car fleeing the police struck him in a tragic accident. He handled the software for the Oculus Rift VR headset, and he died well before its launch on March 28.
“To honor the memory of Andrew Reisse, also an Oculus cofounder, UMD alum, and dear friend, the rooftop park will be named Reisse Park,” Iribe wrote. “The park will contain native plant life and natural water features in memory of Andrew’s love of nature and water. The perfect place for students to take a walk or read.”
Iribe also wrote, “The new CS building is designed to inspire education and innovation through collaboration with open classrooms, state-of-the-art labs, hacker makerspaces, and a large community area. Students will learn a wide range of software and engineering domains such as computer graphics, computer vision, robotics, artificial intelligence, digital security and networking, virtual and augmented reality, and new computing platforms. The 300-seat Antonov Auditorium will bring innovation out of the labs and into conferences, engineering competitions and lectures.
In 2014, Iribe donated $31 million to create the university’s new Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation. The gift was the largest in history for the university in College Park, Maryland. Iribe, a UMD alumnus, gave the money to fund construction of the center, and the remaining $1 million set up the Brendan Iribe Endowed Scholarship in Computer Science. In addition, Oculus chief software architect and co-founder Michael Antonov, a graduate of UMD from 2003, donated another $4 million to the university.
“The three pillars of the innovation center – the CS building, auditorium, and park – symbolize the partnership that we formed 18 years ago when Michael, Andrew and I met at UMD freshman year and started our journey together,” Iribe wrote. “I hope this inspires students to form similar lifelong friendships and teams.”
He added, “With access to everything they need to build the next great company or breakthrough technology, I’m excited to see what future engineers and entrepreneurs come out of UMD. Thank you to everyone that’s making this possible.”