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Huang center dedicated, lauded as Stanford’s engineering anchor

The Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center was dedicated on October 5.

The Huang Center houses more than 270 faculty, staff and students from the Department of Management Science and Engineering, the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and the Dean's Office. 

The new building "will foster future innovation and groundbreaking research for years to come," President Hennessy said at the dedication.

The Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center was dedicated on October 5, providing a new home for Stanford's School of Engineering and an academic and social destination for students and faculty in science, engineering and medicine.

The anchor of Stanford's new Science and Engineering Quad, the Huang Center is named for alumnus and NVIDIA co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang, who, together with his wife, Lori, made the building possible. Huang received his master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1992.

"Stanford is leading the way in finding solutions to today's very complex challenges, and the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center will foster future innovation and groundbreaking research for years to come," said Stanford President John Hennessy.

"We are grateful to Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang for their vision and vote of confidence in our future," Hennessy said. "Jen-Hsun is truly a great innovator in the Stanford tradition. With his support of the Huang Center, he continues another great Stanford tradition - that of one generation ensuring that succeeding generations will have opportunities for excellence."

Tuesday's dedication was preceded by a symposium in the NVIDIA Auditorium and an open house and reception. The symposium, titled "Technology Innovation in the 21st Century," featured the J-team, with Engineering Dean Jim Plummer serving as moderator and Jen-Hsun Huang, President John Hennessy, and alumnus and Yahoo! Co-founder Jerry Yang on the panel. Next, several hundred celebrants, displaying the full range of day-to-day academic plumage, from jeans and sneakers to suits and ties and tasteful dresses, milled about at the reception and strolled through the new building.

A Strategic Location

The Huang Center is located at a strategic crossroads, connecting engineering faculty and students more closely with colleagues in biology, chemistry and physics, as well as with medical researchers and physicians at Stanford's medical center. It is designed to inspire invention in an environment of creativity and collaboration, as evidenced by open spaces, student lounges with moveable furniture and shops for building prototypes and models. It houses more than 270 faculty, staff and students from the Department of Management Science and Engineering, the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. The building features the 300-seat NVIDIA Auditorium, along with the Dean's Office and supporting departments.

The building is also home to the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Library, where staff members provide scholars with a new generation of intelligent information access. The library space and services were designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty, and to support discovery, retrieval and integration of digital and print information. During the open house, the library was well occupied by students intent on their studies at the various carrels, tables and a few high-backed booths, as visitors strolled through, admiring the views of the engineering campus from around the perimeter of the stacks.

Investing in Tomorrow's Innovators

"The new Huang Center was deliberately designed to provide facilities to address the evolving needs of engineering education," said James D. Plummer, the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the School of Engineering and the John M. Fluke Professor of Electrical Engineering.

"Similar to engineering students in the past, today's students must have deep disciplinary knowledge," Plummer said. "In addition, however, engineers in the 21st century must be able to work across disciplines and must have breadth so that they can excel in areas including teamwork, communications, entrepreneurship and design. They also must be able to navigate in a global economy and across cultures. These are each essential for engineers, and indeed others, to be successful, and were among the driving forces in designing the Huang Center."

"To build a better future we must invest in tomorrow's innovators," Huang said. "There is no better place to do this than Stanford. Magic happens time and again when bright students learn together in an environment rich with faculty who are the best in their fields. With this new engineering center, we are giving students and teachers a place to collaborate and create our future. I hope that students will find inspiration here, and that Stanford will be as important in shaping their lives as it has been in mine."

Fulfilling the Founders' Vision

Leslie Hume, chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, said the Huang Center embodies the vision of founders Jane and Leland Stanford as stated more than 100 years ago.

"The Stanford's charged the trustees to erect buildings that are substantial in character and that would enable the work of faculty and students," Hume said. "This building meets both of those criteria, but also reflects the founders' pioneering spirit and our commitment to research and education that benefit society."

The location of the Huang Center, in the Science and Engineering Quad, or SEQ, is aligned on an east-west axis with the historic Main Quad; it fulfills the original vision for the campus as a series of quads that the Stanford's and landscape planner Frederick Law Olmsted developed in the late 1800s.

As part of the SEQ, the Huang Center is a modern interpretation of classic Stanford architecture. All buildings in the SEQ, including the Huang Center, meet stringent standards for sustainable construction and operation, including a reduction in potable water use of up to 90 percent and a reduction in energy use of about 50 percent compared with buildings of a similar size and use. Principles of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) were incorporated into the building, and rather than pursuing LEED Certification, Stanford applied the costs of that process into sustainable features of the Huang Center.

Exhibits throughout the Huang Center illustrate the School of Engineering's track record of innovation and technology transfer. They range from a structure inspired by the HP garage in Palo Alto, where alumni William Hewlett and David Packard launched their electronics company in 1939, to the to building block-encased servers used by computer science grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page to test their PageRank algorithm, which led to the founding of Google in 1998.

"The history of Stanford Engineering is steeped in innovation, and we now have a new home that can inspire and facilitate important advances well into the future," Plummer said.