Stanford University has announced a $28 million gift from James J. Spilker, Jr., an alumnus, GPS pioneer, and consulting professor, and his wife, Anna Marie, a real estate broker and investor, for a new building and an endowed professorship in the School of Engineering.
The 100,000-square-foot Engineering and Applied Sciences Building will be renamed for the Spilkers and house facilities for research at the atomic scale, with applications ranging from new drugs, to novel semiconductors, to improved communications networks, to water purification.
In the 1960s and '70s, Spilker was a central figure in the development and design of both military and civilian global positioning systems. After co-founding and serving as CEO and chair of Stanford Telecommunications, he joined the university in 2001 as a consulting professor of electrical engineering and aeronautical/astronautical engineering. In 2005, he co-founded the Stanford University Center for Position, Navigation and Time and continues to work on satellite navigation.
"Anna Marie and I believe strongly that America's ability to compete in the twenty-first century — even more so than the twentieth — will depend critically on our ability to innovate and excel in science and engineering," said Spilker. "Many jobs of the past century are gone. This gift is an effort to ensure that one of America's great research institutions retains the leadership it has enjoyed for decades."