News and Features – Microsoft Commits $3 Million to Seattle University Campaign

Seattle University recently announced that Microsoft Corporation has made a $3 million gift to Seattle University’s comprehensive capital campaign that is earmarked for the new Center for Science and Innovation and related academic programming dedicated to examining the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence.

Of the $3 million, $2.5 million will go toward construction of the Center for Science and Innovation (CSI), which represents the future of STEM education at Seattle U. An additional $500,000 will fund development of programming that explores the intersection of ethics and technology as it relates to AI, big data, facial recognition and more.

Development of programs that focus on technology grounded in ethics would leverage the strengths of the two institutions. Microsoft, whose core values include trust and integrity, is recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the world. Seattle U’s Jesuit education places a special emphasis on empowering students to consider the moral choices of the day and to be leaders for the greater good.

“Seattle University is grateful for Microsoft’s generous gift. This gift will help us reimagine STEM education in a way that touches every student at the university and prepares them to meet future workforce and societal needs in the region and globally,” says President Stephen V. Sundborg, SJ “Receiving such support from the region’s largest technology employer and a leading corporate philanthropist affirms the high quality and future potential of the university’s computer science and engineering programs.”

“A STEM education coupled with a liberal arts background will be a powerful combination in the future,” says Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Microsoft is a longtime supporter of Seattle University and its approach to educating the heart and mind. The future of technology will require developers to approach their work in a responsible way and the Jesuits are known for challenging students to think responsibly for themselves and their community.”

Construction of the CSI is scheduled to begin this spring. It will open in two phases—a new building in 2021 and two renovated buildings in 2023—and will house all of the College of Science and Engineering academic programs and create capacity to accommodate existing and future growth. Overall enrollment in the College of Science and Engineering has jumped 61 percent in the past decade, while the number of students studying computer science has quadrupled.

A café planned for the first floor of the new building will be named for Microsoft.

The Microsoft gift marks a new chapter in its relationship with the university. The company has long sponsored senior-year computer science capstone projects going back to 2000 and currently includes more than 600 Seattle U alumni in its workforce.


Founded in 1891, Seattle University is a Jesuit Catholic university located on 50 acres in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. More than 7,400 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within the nine schools and colleges. U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges” ranks Seattle U among the top universities in the West that offer a full range of undergraduate, master’s and select doctoral degree programs. Seattle U is a thriving university of distinction in the heart of a leading city for innovation and forward thinking, whose alumni and students impact the region and world for the greater good in their professions and communities.

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Author: Steve Clarke