Dolby, who died in 2013, was a Marshall Scholar and research fellow at Pembroke, studied at the university's world-renowned Cavendish Laboratory of Physics, and received his doctorate in 1961. In 1965, he founded Dolby Laboratories in London and invented the Dolby System, an analog audio encoding system that greatly improved recorded sound quality. In 1976, he moved the company to San Francisco.
The largest gift to a Cambridge college in the modern era will be used to create the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Court. "This gift will create a spectacular setting in which future students will benefit from the university's education and begin to make their own mark in the world of innovation, as Ray did with such notable impact," said the university's vice-chancellor, Leszek Borysiewicz.
The bequest also is the largest gift to date made toward the university's £2 billion fundraising campaign. Notable gifts to the campaign by Americans include $27 million from Bill and Weslie Janeway for the Faculty of Economics and Pembroke College and $25 million from Jamie Walters and Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian for Queens' College and the Faculty of Economics.
"The University of Cambridge played a pivotal role in Ray's life, both personally and professionally," said Dolby's widow, Dagmar, who met her husband at the university. "At Cambridge, he gained the formative education and insights that contributed greatly to his lifelong groundbreaking creativity, and we also began a wonderful lifetime together there."