Miami University alum donates $20 million for data science building


Miami University

An artist’s rendering of what the Richard M. McVey Data Science Building will look like.

By Emily Gentry

A recent $20 million gift to Miami University for a data science building will help one of the university’s fastest-growing programs grow even faster, associate provost and Miami professor of mathematics Jeffrey Wanko said. 

“The department of Emerging Technology in Business & Designs has been growing a lot with its work, for example, with gaming, game design and game theory and analytics,” Wanko said. “That’s a department that has been just bursting at the seams and it’s one of our fastest-growing departments here at the university. So, by providing them with some other kinds of spaces, it’s going to help them grow and have a home that’s more representative of what they do.”

The gift from Rick McVey, Miami class of ’81, was announced Oct. 5. McVey is an entrepreneur as chairman and chief executive officer of MarketAxess, a New York based international financial technology company. The new facility, to be built along Talawanda Road near Withrow and Benton halls, will be named the Richard M. McVey Data Science Building.

Rick McVey, Miami class of '81, donated $20 million to the university
Rick McVey, Miami class of ’81, donated $20 million for the new building.

The Richard M. McVey Data Science Building will be around 85,000 square feet and will host a variety of disciplines including mathematics, statistics, robotics, cybersecurity, the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies and other related fields in relation with the Farmer School of Business and the College of Engineering and Computing. The building will also host Miami’s up-and-coming department of Emerging Technology in Business & Designs. 

The university has established a faculty to oversee the development of the new building and ensure programs are receiving the attention they need in order to advance. 

“Through this new building, we will be able to bring together synergies from separate units and do research we haven’t been able to do before,” Wanko said.

McVey’s $20 million will cover around a third of the cost of the building, according to Wanko. 

“We’ve been dreaming and planning this space for quite some time now and we are so thankful for that generous gift,” said Vanessa Cannon, an instructor in the Department of Emerging Technology in Business & Designs. 

“We’ve been living in Laws Hall which is a pretty tight squeeze for all of the tech we have. There are robots in just about every closet these days. We can’t wait to have a space to house our rapidly growing department,” Cannon said.

The construction of this building, in addition to the Clinical Health Sciences and Wellness building, will be the first new academic building in the past 10 years since the construction of the Farmer School of Business. 

“We’ve built residence halls and the Armstrong Student Center, but to be able to build new academic spaces is really, really exciting for us,” Wanko said.

The new building’s two faces will have different aesthetics, according to Wanko. 

“One side will be Miami’s traditional red brick and Georgian architecture, while the other side will be mostly made of glass and have a ‘take a look inside, see what’s under the hood’ view of high technology.”

Construction of the new building is expected to begin in late spring 2021 and to be completed in summer 2023.