A Higher Purpose
Rooftop Park at Iribe Center Honors Late Terp, Oculus Co-founder
Whenever Andrew Reisse ’01 was feeling stressed or anxious, he found comfort in the simple act of going outside. Whether walking, rock climbing or hiking, Reisse “really loved to be outside exploring,” said his mother, Dana Reisse M.L.S. ’73. “He saw the beauty in a number of aspects of nature.”
In 2013, Reisse—a co-founder and lead engineer of Oculus—was fatally struck by a speeding car while walking near his Southern California home. Now, the Andrew Reisse Park and Gallery atop the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering honor his memory.
The 6,400-square-foot rooftop space, which includes garden plantings, a flowing water feature in honor of Reisse’s love of waterfalls, and sweeping views of College Park, offers the chance for people to take a break from work and reconnect with the natural world. “Apparently when people were under stress at work he suggested they leave, go out, take a walk or hike,” said Dana. “He definitely did not believe in burning yourself out.”
Reisse loved to photograph the world around him—everything from mountains, deserts and seashores to flowers, rocks and waterfalls. Several of his photographs are displayed in the gallery, which is also home to a small meeting space.
Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, who met Reisse and third Oculus co-founder Michael Antonov ’03 during the trio’s time at UMD, announced Reisse Park during the building’s groundbreaking at Maryland Day in 2016, highlighting his friend’s kind nature, intelligence and love of the outdoors.
Reisse was also dedicated to computer science. “Everyone in this new building shares the same commitment Andrew had to cutting-edge science and innovation,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “By taking time to recharge in the Reisse Park and Gallery, they will also be able to share his love of nature and the beauty of the world around us.”
Dana and her husband Bob Reisse M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’76—who also endowed an undergraduate teaching award in Andrew’s name to support undergraduates teaching Student Initiated Courses (STICs) in science, mathematics or computer science—hope that the park will remind all to balance work and leisure. “He really believed firmly in that,” said Dana.