The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced a $140 million gift from an alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous in support of MIT's educational and research mission.
The unrestricted gift will provide flexible resources that enable MIT to invest in high-risk ideas, address some of the world's most urgent challenges, and continue its support for students, faculty, and its physical campus. Among other things, the funds will be used to strengthen the university's ability to ensure that every student who is admitted can matriculate, regardless of family financial circumstances. In 2016, unrestricted funds covered 20 percent of MIT's undergraduate scholarships and financial aid, and that amount will increase significantly in 2017 and 2018.
Unrestricted funds at MIT also have served to advance early-stage ideas considered too risky to qualify for backing from traditional sources, provide support for laboratories and staff, and underwrite the construction and renovation of facilities. "For the faculty and students of MIT, unrestricted resources are the vital fuel that helps big ideas take off," said MIT president L. Rafael Reif. "This remarkable gift will magnify our strength in education, research, and innovation and help foster transformative discoveries, inventions, and solutions to conquer new frontiers and build a better world. We are honored by the expression of confidence this donor has shown in MIT's capacity for impact, and we are grateful for this visionary support."
The gift will count toward MIT's $5 billion fundraising campaign, which had raised $3.4 billion as of June 1.
"No one has ever made it through life without someone else's help," said the donor. "As a past recipient of MIT's generous financial aid, I benefited tremendously from the opportunity to pursue my MIT education and am extremely appreciative of all the ways that MIT has shaped me. I am also inspired by MIT's vision in tackling global challenges, and I trust its leadership to take bold steps to make the world a better place. I am blessed to be able to give back to the institute so other students can experience what I did, and so that the institute can continue to excel in groundbreaking achievements. I hope this gift inspires others to give back to MIT and to pay it forward to the society that we all share."