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MIT Technology Review

A Vote of Confidence

Alum gives MIT $140 million—with no strings attached.

August 16, 2017

Two days before commencement, president L. Rafael Reif announced what he called a “remarkable” gift: a graduate has pledged $140 million to the Campaign for MIT. Like the famous “Mr. Smith,” whose generosity helped fund MIT’s move to Cambridge in the early 1900s, this new donor wants to remain anonymous. And by making the gift unrestricted, the modern-­day Mr. (or Ms.) Smith demonstrates the same belief in MIT and its important work. Unrestricted funds provide much-needed flexibility, allowing the Institute to invest in daring ideas, address some of the world’s most urgent challenges, and sustain support for students, faculty, and the physical campus.  

“No one has ever made it through life without someone else’s help. As a past recipient of MIT’s generous financial aid, I benefited tremendously from the opportunity to pursue my MIT education and am extremely appreciative of all the ways that MIT has shaped me,” the donor says. “I am also inspired by MIT’s vision in tackling global challenges, and I trust its leadership to take bold steps to make the world a better place. I am blessed to be able to give back to the Institute so other students can experience what I did, and so that the Institute can continue to excel in groundbreaking achievements. I hope this gift inspires others to give back to MIT and to pay it forward to the society that we all share.”

“Everyone who contributes ‘unrestricted’ dollars gives MIT flexibility and nimbleness—the ability to seize unexpected opportunities, to solve crucial but unglamorous issues around buildings and grounds, to respond to emergencies, to provide the fundamental support that allows us to attract many of the most creative people in the world,” Reif wrote in a letter to the MIT community. “And these supporters give us one thing more: the great gift of their confidence—confidence in the mission, power, and people of MIT to do good for the nation and the world.”