The Rochester Institute of Technology has announced a $50 million gift from alumnus Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto, a Connecticut-based data protection company with engineering and support offices in Rochester, in support of entrepreneurship and cybersecurity initiatives.
The largest gift ever to the university includes $30 million to foster creativity and entrepreneurship at the school, with $17.5 million of that earmarked for the launch of the Maker Library & Innovative Learning Complex of the Future — a new facility and learning incubator connecting RIT's Wallace Center and Student Alumni Union. Additional funding will support equipment purchases and endowments for faculty positions and student scholarships, including new "Entrepreneurial Gap Year" fellowships aimed at helping students turn their entrepreneurial ideas into viable businesses. The remaining $20 million will be used to advance the school's cybersecurity and artificial intelligence capabilities, including the expansion of facilities and the establishment of endowments aimed at attracting and retaining exceptional faculty and graduate students, primarily in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, the largest of RIT's nine colleges.
McChord, who graduated in 2009, founded Datto in 2007 in the basement of his father's office building. Over the past ten years, the company has been included in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies three times and was acquired by Vista Equity Partners before merging with Autotask Corp, which McChord now leads as CEO.
"My goal with this gift is two-fold," said McChord. "First is to help make more resources available to students, alumni, and the community at-large to create, build, and innovate for the future. But it's also to help recognize those who helped you along the way. My success today would not have been possible without my time at RIT."