Caltech Receives $10 Million for Physics, Math, Astronomy Chair

The California Institute of Technology has announced a gift of $10 million to establish and endow a leadership chair in the university's division of physics, mathematics, and astronomy.

The Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair will enable B. Thomas Soifer, the inaugural holder of the position, to turn back-of-the-napkin ideas from students and faculty into groundbreaking science. "For years, I've kept a wish list — literally a black notebook on my desk — where I capture the most exciting ideas I hear from faculty and students," said Soifer. "This gift will transform notes like those into tangible realities by providing unrestricted funds to support groundbreaking projects. The division's greatest contributions to science all started as ventures that Caltech had the foresight to encourage, and the Kresas' gift helps ensure that this will always be true."

Kent Kresa, a senior trustee and emeritus board chair, worked at Northrup Grumman for twenty-eight years, ultimately serving as its chair, president, and CEO. His late wife, Joyce, was a trained vocalist and a champion for the arts, education, medicine, and science.

"Caltech is a nurturer of good ideas and new things," said Kresa. "Of anywhere in the world, the ideas per student and ideas per faculty member are probably the highest at Caltech. We wanted to give a gift that would allow the faculty to decide where they should spend the money, and have that available in perpetuity."