MSOE to add $34M technologies education facility
Largest donation in university’s history

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Oct. 24, 2017

To be located in the center of the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus, the $34 million Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall will focus on artificial intelligence, cyber security, robotics, cloud computing and other next-generation technologies education.
Submitted rendering

MILWAUKEE — A $34 million donation will allow Milwaukee School of Engineering to construct an academic facility that will be used for artificial intelligence, cyber security, robotics, cloud computing and other next-generation technologies education.

To be located in the center of the campus, the $34 million Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall has been funded by a donation from MSOE Regent and alumnus Dr. Dwight Diercks and his wife, Dian.

In the announcement Monday, MSOE touted the facility addition as a way to transform the school that will “deepen and enhance the current disciplines of study at the university: engineering, business and nursing.”

“I am pleased to announce this investment in our future. Thanks to the generosity of Dwight and Dian Diercks, MSOE is building on our foundation of excellence and answering the call to educate the next generation of professionals needed to fill the global demand for technology experts, leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Dr. John Walz, president of MSOE, in a statement.

“This new building is the first step in transforming the heart of campus to ensure current and future students, faculty and staff, and industry leaders and employers are at the forefront of evolving technology. Put simply, MSOE is positioned to be a national leader in artificial intelligence education.”

Diercks earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at MSOE in 1990 and he holds an honorary doctor of engineering degree from the university. The Diercks’ donation is the largest single gift given by an alumnus in the university’s 114-year history.

Today, Diercks is senior vice president at NVIDIA, a California-based technology company and global leader in AI, supercomputing and visual computing.

Modern classrooms, innovative laboratories, an auditorium, and spaces to support companies who partner with MSOE are planned for the $34 million Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall.
Submitted rendering

“MSOE changed the course of my life and my career, and has a special place in my heart,” Diercks said in a statement. “Just as the modern computer transformed technology 30 years ago, AI will transform technology as we know it for the next generation and across all industries. I wanted to give MSOE a gift that would position this incredible university as a major application-focused computer science and artificial intelligence center for the Midwest and U.S. for years to come.”

The Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall is a proposed 64,000square-foot facility that will be constructed in the center of campus, near the intersection of Milwaukee and State streets. Planned for the interior of the building are modern classrooms, innovative laboratories, an auditorium, and spaces to support companies who partner with MSOE.

A major feature of the facility will be a state-of-the-art datacenter, which will be home to a GPU-accelerated supercomputer. The project is set for groundbreaking in early-to-mid-2018. Uihlein-Wilson Architects will serve as project developers.