Vanderbilt University in Nashville has announced a $20 million gift from alumnus and board of trust vice chair-elect Jeffrey Rothschild and his wife, Marieke, in support of the university's residential colleges program.
The gift, made through a donor-advised fund, will accelerate the ongoing development of the College Halls program, a living-learning initiative designed to build community, support student success, and extend educational opportunities beyond the classroom. Launched in 2008, the program enables students to live alongside faculty mentors who guide them through a range of educational programming opportunities during the school year. The Rothchilds' gift will help fund the several facilities already in operation as well as additional halls to be built over the next decade.
Rothschild, who graduated from Vanderbilt with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1977 and a master's in computer science in 1979, co-founded Veritas Software and led the development of Facebook's infrastructure platform as its founding vice president of engineering from 2005 to 2015. In 2013, the couple established two Jeff and Marieke Rothschild Scholarships at the school, one to provide financial aid for incoming students at the School of Engineering and the other for College of Arts and Science students.
"We owe it to society to have a well-informed population," said Marieke Rothschild. "The College Halls program enables dialogue among a diverse mix of students — along with faculty involvement, which is important. You need to have that cross-pollination among students. And it's not just about gender or race, it goes for majors as well. The College Halls bring engineers together with history majors with artists to live side by side."