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MIT Technology Review

More Students on the Way

Alumnus gift will let MIT increase enrollment

December 21, 2010

This fall, about 80 more freshmen than usual will begin drinking from the fire hose at MIT. Thanks to a $24 million gift from an alumnus, the Institute will be able to expand its undergraduate student body to 4,500 students, about 250 more than are enrolled today.

“We are losing the opportunity to train many qualified and bright minds due to MIT’s undergraduate capacity constraints,” says Fariborz ​­Maseeh, ScD ‘90, who made the donation to expand access to an MIT education. “Our world and especially our nation need more MIT graduates.”

In recognition of the gift from ​­Maseeh and his philanthropic company, the Massiah Foundation, Building W1 will be renamed Fariborz Maseeh Hall. (The dormitory was known as Ashdown House until 2008, when it closed for renovations and NW35 became Ashdown.) W1, which opened in 1901 as a grand hotel at what is now the corner of Mass. Ave. and Memorial Drive, is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

The enrollment increase, which will be phased in over three years and will eventually be spread across all four classes, will return the student body to the size of the 1990s. By implementing the increase gradually, MIT can ramp up the resources necessary to ensure a seamless transition.

Maseeh Hall, which will open in September, will accommodate 460 students. The dorm’s housemasters, Professor Suzanne Flynn and her husband, Jack Carroll, have been working with a group of 50 undergrads to develop a community model to ensure that the dorm establishes its own traditions and is smoothly integrated into campus life.