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UMD lands its largest-ever gift: $31M from Oculus VR cofounder

The gift will fund the new Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation. "UMD could become the epicenter of tomorrow's virtual world," wrote UMD President Wallace Loh.

Brendan Iribe talks to University of Maryland students at the Friday announcement. (Photo courtesy of University of Maryland)

Brendan Iribe dropped out of the University of Maryland after his freshman year. But his gift last week, the largest ever to the school by a single donor, is equivalent to tuition there for thousands.
The College Park university is using the $31 million gift from the Oculus VR cofounder to jumpstart its renowned computer science program.
In an email Friday to the university community, Maryland President Wallace Loh announced $140 million in gifts, including Iribe’s, and the launch of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation.
The gifts, Loh wrote, were sparked by the 2013 hit-and-run death of Oculus cofounder Andrew Reisse. Reise, Iribe and Michael Antonov met as Maryland freshmen and dorm-mates in 1997.
“In 2012, they founded Oculus VR to develop the potential of virtual reality,” Loh wrote. “Their amazing VR technology generated excitement and investment. Facebook subsequently acquired the start-up, betting that someday this technology would be used by one billion people to see, communicate, and interact in new (virtual) ways.”
The new center will attract top faculty and students, Loh wrote and include “hacker spaces” mixing students from other academic sectors, like art and business.
“This is how Brendan, Michael, and Andrew pass on to the next generation their passion for learning, creativity, and start-ups,” Loh wrote. “UMD could become the epicenter of tomorrow’s virtual world.”

Companies: University of Maryland / University of Maryland College Park / Facebook

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