sealPurdue News

March 28, 2003

Purdue celebrates donations for new computer science building

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will announce today (Friday, 3/28) that it is has nearly completed raising the private funds needed to build its new $20 million computer science building.

The announcement will highlight today's celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Department of Computer Science, the first in the country. The university has raised $5.5 million of the $7 million in private funds needed to leverage $13 million in state money to build the new facility.

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Most of the private funds are from two gifts: $3.5 million from an anonymous donor and $1 million from Mike Farmwald, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was born in Anderson, Ind., and grew up in Topeka, Ind. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Purdue in 1974.

"These generous contributions are a significant step toward a much needed facility," said Martin C. Jischke, Purdue president. "Currently the department is scattered across more than six buildings,  and the new home will encourage synergy for researchers and provide a better educational environment for our students."

The new facility also will promote Indiana's economic development, Jischke said.

"In 1995 the department served 477 undergraduates. That number has almost doubled, standing now at 916, and industry is still clamoring for more."

The gift announcements will be made this evening at the department's anniversary dinner, which will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union's Great Hall. Jischke will make a few brief comments and introduce the evening's guest speaker, Ind. Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

Farmwald, who lives in Portola Valley, Calif., is a computer engineer and entrepreneur who founded six high-tech companies. He is possibly best known for co-founding Rambus Inc., a developer of scalable chip technologies that enable semiconductor devices to keep pace with faster generations of processors and controllers. After founding the company in 1990, Farmwald served as its vice president and chief scientist.

Farmwald is listed among the inventors of more than 60 patents, including several related to computer memory. He also was an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois from 1989 to 1990. In addition to his Purdue degree, Farmwald holds a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University.

Plans call for the new building to house classrooms, instructional and research laboratories, breakout rooms for student organizations, multipurpose rooms, meeting rooms, and offices for faculty, staff and graduate students. The $13 million state contribution was approved in the 2001-03 state budget.

Purdue ties with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in producing more information technology graduates than any other institution in the country.

Writer: Chad Boutin, (765) 494-2081,

Source: Susanne Hambrusch, head of the Department of Computer Science, (765) 494-6003,


Purdue University's planned computer science building will be a  60,000 assignable square-foot, multistory building that will consolidate the computer science department in one location. Currently, the department is scattered in five different buildings across the West Lafayette campus. (Purdue News Service file graphic)

A publication-quality rendering is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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