June 21, 2007

Daily Pilot

UCI building dedicated to Bren

By Michael Miller

Six-story campus hall named for Irvine Co. chairman will house information and computer science programs.

UC IRVINE — Donald Bren was already in celebration mode when he visited campus Wednesday for the dedication of a new building in his name. The night before, the Irvine Co. chairman had stayed up late watching UCI's baseball team defeat Arizona State University, and he told the crowd that cheering the team on had resulted in his hoarse voice.

"I don't usually sound like 'The Godfather,' " he said, moments before donning a UCI baseball cap and shouting, "Go 'Eaters!"

With UCI still reeling from Tuesday's come-from-behind victory, the campus celebrated another milestone Wednesday morning, as administrators and guests gathered to officially dedicate Donald Bren Hall. The six-story building, which broke ground almost exactly three years ago, provides a new home to UCI's information and computer science programs.

At 11:30 a.m., Bren, Chancellor Michael Drake and others gathered inside the new building for opening remarks.

Debra Richardson, the dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, said the state-of-the-art structure would help UCI attract top faculty from around the world. The information and computer science department — better known as ICS — launched at UCI in 1968.

"ICS has been a success story for the last 39 years," Richardson said. "Next year, we'll mark our 40th year. Today, I venture to say that we've only just begun."

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the building opened for tours. The Bren Hall, which covers more than 90,000 square feet, includes research labs, faculty offices, classrooms and more. Bren, who wielded a shovel at the groundbreaking in 2004, said he marveled — as always — at watching a building evolve from scratch.

"As most of you know, at my core, I'm a community builder," he said. "It's been my lifelong passion."
UCI building dedicated to Bren