Alums Donate $20 Million for Technology Research Center Headquarters

Photo: UC Berkeley alumni donated more than $20 million to fund the construction of Sutardja Dai Hall.
Chris Chung/Photo
UC Berkeley alumni donated more than $20 million to fund the construction of Sutardja Dai Hall.

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The founders of the Marvell Technology Group, all UC Berkeley alumni, donated more than $20 million to create the new on-campus headquarters for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

Sutardja Dai Hall, which held its opening celebration Feb. 27, was named to recognize the support provided for the project by Sehat Sutardja, Weili Dai and Pantas Sutardja, said Karen Rhodes, executive director of marketing and communication for Berkeley's College of Engineering.

"The gift helped to facilitate the construction of the CITRIS headquarters," she said.

Rhodes said the funding for the construction came from a combination of about $87.3 million in state-provided funds and about $70 million from private sources.

The billion-dollar company, Marvell Technology Group, is responsible for manufacturing and selling semiconductor chips. According to Dianne Vanasse, public relations manager for the company, the founders hoped to foster education with their gift.

"They are donating to the center because they have a passion for education and believe that it is time for business leaders to step up and support education and the future of our country," she said.

One of the features of the building is the Marvell Nanofabrication Lab, named after the company.

The lab will be used to make small parts for computer chips and will be staffed by UC Berkeley researchers, while the company founders play a technical advisory role.

Professor Liwei Lin, a researcher at the center, said the new building will allow students and faculty with different backgrounds to work more closely together on projects.

"It will allow us to garner multi-discipline collaborations," he said.

Rhodes says it is common for research institutes to consult with industry partners for feedback on the real-world applicability of projects.

Collaboration between large companies and campus researchers, such as the BP deal, has caused controversy; but according to Jose Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Campaign for Berkeley, private funding, such as the gift from the company, is important in preserving the caliber of education at UC Berkeley.

"Private funding is essential in ensuring that Berkeley remains accessible to students and in our ability to attract and retain world-class faculty," he said.


Contact Robert Gandapermana at [email protected]

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