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A $9M donation from the Brin family to University of Maryland College Park focuses on performing arts and tech

The Maya Brin Institute for New Performance is being established with an eye toward preparing students for tech careers in the performing arts.

Photo courtesy of http://umd.edu

A $9 million donation will help the University of Maryland College Park create a new center focused around tech careers in the performing arts.

The gift is from Michael Brin, a retired mathematics professor at the university who is the father of Google cofounder and UMCP alum Sergey Brin; his wife and retired NASA scientist Eugenia; and the Brin Family Foundation. It will establish the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance, named for Michael Brin’s late mother, who taught Russian at the university after emigrating from the Soviet Union.

Housed within the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the institute will aim to prepare students for careers in areas such as webcasts, immersive design technology and virtual reality performance.

“We will be at the forefront of applications and modifications of technology and theater. We’ll be able to expand our existing work and really become a national leader,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, in a news release. “Our students will have knowledge and experience that will prepare them to be among the first people hired as this new technology develops.”

The donation will also mean tech upgrades for the UMCP facilities. Among the additions will be a new light and technology studio, multimedia labs, full-stage green screens, GoPro cameras, laser projectors and remote rehearsal technology. Five new faculty positions will join, teaching courses such as “Video Design for Dance and Theater” and “Experimental Interfaces and Physical Computations.”

Previous gifts by Michael and Eugenia Brin included a $1 million donation to endow two professorships in computer science, and a $2.5 million donation to endow a math professorship in 2015.

Companies: University of Maryland

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