“Breathtaking” gift at Univ. Washington Computing Honors Continuing Legacy of Ed Lazowska
Ed Lazowska has been instrumental in the growth of the Seattle-area tech industry, serving as the driving force behind the University of Washington’s computer science and engineering for more than four decades.
Based on his work alone, his impact was already sure to extend beyond his tenure as a longtime professor and past president of what is known today as the Paul G. Allen School. of Computer Science & Engineering from UW. But a group of tech leaders have been working quietly behind the scenes for over a year to enrich its legacy.
The Allen School revealed this week that Microsoft’s Peter Lee and Google’s Jeff Dean (a UW CSE alumnus) have joined Microsoft President Brad Smith and Microsoft Researcher Emeritus Harry Shum to donate $ 1 million. combined to establish an endowed chair in the name of Lazowska.
They surprised Lazowska by telling him about the gift for his 70th birthday last year, causing him to cry.
The Allen School has already appointed the first Lazowska teacher: Luis Ceze, computer scientist and entrepreneur who has been a faculty member since 2007.
This is just the beginning. Lee, Dean, Smith and Shum encourage other members of the community to add to their donation, seeking to establish several “Lazowska Chairs”. They are raising additional funds until the end of December, in coordination with the school principal Allen, Magdalena Balazinska, and the school promotion team.
“I don’t know of anyone who has done more than Ed Lazowska to explain how universities, government and industry work together to create new technologies, provide economic opportunities for people and improve national competitiveness,” Lee said by email this week. “His contributions have had an impact on the region, on Microsoft and on me personally. “
Lee explained, “Jeff and I teamed up to do this in the hopes that it would help move Ed’s work forward – he’s had such an influence on us personally. We just used her birthday as an excuse to attach her name to this heritage. “
It could be the biggest thing that has ever happened at UW CSE without Lazowska’s participation.
“It’s mind-boggling – both for what it means to me and what it will mean for the Allen School in the future,” Lazowska said by email, with his characteristic enthusiasm. He added: “I have been kept totally in the dark – at this point I have no idea who has contributed or how much has been raised. I will find out in January!
We had to ask ourselves: what about retirement? Lazowska had promised his wife, Lyndsay Downs, that he would retire at 70, which obviously did not happen. He is now “firmly committed” to retiring at age 75. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Read UW’s full story about giving and learn more about giving.