The California Institute of Technology has announced a gift of at least $50 million from alumnus Ronald Linde (M.S. '62, Ph.D. '64) and his wife, Maxine.
The gift will create an endowment without a specific permanent purpose other than to advance promising initiatives in their early stages. The gift is structured to be flexible so once those initiatives are well established and positioned to garner additional external support, the endowed funds can be redirected to other emerging priorities at the school. "Our philosophy is to allow for flexibility because you can't know the future," said Linde, "and science is about exploring the unknown."
Linde, who earned the institute's first doctorate in materials science, is founder and former chair and CEO of Envirodyne Industries, where his wife, a mathematician who worked as a programmer at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the early days of the U.S. space program, served as general counsel and chief administrative officer. Since 1989, when Ron Linde was elected to Caltech's board, the couple have made several multimillion-dollar gifts to fund the cross-divisional Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, the interdisciplinary Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences, the Ronald and Maxine Linde/Caltech Alumni Laboratories, an endowed professorship, and research programs.
Their latest commitment was made in the hope that the funds will advance key priorities at Caltech and motivate others to follow their lead. "The most important impact is the impact we can't even imagine yet," said Ron Linde. "It's very exciting to help Caltech create the future, to provide support for things that are going to be happening centuries from now."