U Receives Cornerstone Gift for New Engineering Building

President J. Bernard Machen Announces Plans for the John E. and Marva M. Warnock Engineering Building

March 21, 2003 — President J. Bernard Machen and Governor Michael O. Leavitt announced today that John E. and Marva M. Warnock have gifted 200,000 shares of Adobe stock to the University of Utah for the College of Engineering Building Campaign. The stock currently valued at over $5.7M is the cornerstone gift of a $13M capital campaign to construct a new engineering building dedicated to undergraduate instruction and emerging areas of research. In the past the Warnocks have created Presidential Endowed Chairs in the College of Engineering and the College of Science. In recognition of the magnitude of their overall support, now approximately $9M, and their leadership role in the capital campaign, the new building will be named the John E. and Marva M. Warnock Engineering Building.


“We are extremely grateful to John and Marva for their generous donation to the U’s engineering building. This extraordinary leadership gift marks the beginning of a new era of innovation and discovery, and represents a partnership with the university and the State to support economic development in Utah,” said President Bernie Machen. According to Senior Vice President David Pershing, “It is completely fitting that the building bearing the Warnock name will be home to hundreds of aspiring computer scientists and engineers as well as cutting edge computational research.”


During the 2001 legislative session, the State granted $15M in bonding authority for a new engineering building at the U predicated on a $13M match from private donors. The building bonds, along with $4.6M in remodeling funds for the Merrill Engineering Building, are part of a statewide initiative to double the number of engineering graduates in Utah. The new engineering building is a critical factor in the university’s efforts to achieve that goal. The Warnocks’ lead gift, given the current economic climate, is a major step forward for the campaign.


Marva (BS’66) is a designer and partner with Marsh Design in Palo Alto. John Warnock (BS’61, MS’64, PhD’69) is co-chairman of the board of Adobe Systems, Inc., a company he co-founded in 1982 with Charles Geschke. For three decades, Dr. Warnock has pioneered the development of world-renowned graphics, publishing, Web and electronic document technologies that have revolutionized the field of publishing and visual communication. Dr. Warnock holds six patents and is one of the world’s most respected software innovators.


Warnock’s entrepreneurial success has been chronicled by some of the country’s most influential business and computer industry publications, and he has received numerous awards for technical and managerial achievement. A partial list of awards includes: Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young, Merrill Lynch, and Inc. Magazine; Cary Award from Rochester Institute of Technology; Lifetime Achievement Award for Technical Excellence from PC Magazine; University of Utah Distinguished Alumnus Award; Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Software Systems Award; Award for Technical Excellence from the National Graphics Association; and the first Rhode Island School of Design Distinguished Service to Art and Design International Award. Warnock has also received the Edwin H. Land Award from the Optical Society of America.


Warnock is a distinguished member of the National Academy of Engineering and in November 1998 was inducted into the Computer Reseller News Hall of Fame as one of the “Ten Revolutionaries of Computing.” In 1999, Warnock was inducted as an ACM fellow and in 2000 was ranked the seventh most influential graphics person of the last millennium by Graphic Exchange magazine. That same year he was inducted into the Utah Information Technology Association Hall of Fame. Warnock has been a member of the board of directors of Adobe Systems Inc., Knight-Ridder, Octavo Corporation, Ebrary Incorporated, Netscape communications, and Salon Media Group. He is past chairman of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. He also has served on the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute. Before co-founding Adobe Systems, Warnock was principal scientist at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Prior to joining Xerox, Warnock held key positions at Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, and the University of Utah.


Warnock holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Marva holds a B.S. in sociology from the University of Utah. After John’s retirement from Adobe, the Warnock’s now spend more of their time in Utah. They own the Blue Boar Inn in Midway and have a home in Park City, where they spend the winters taking advantage Utah’s great skiing.

Media Contacts For This Story

director, external relations and development, College of Engineering, Engineering, College of
Office Phone: 801-581-7194
Email address: mdavies@coe.utah.edu