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MIT Technology Review

Mike Speciner ’68

Acton, Massachusetts

December 18, 2020
Speciner portraitSpeciner portrait
Rose Lincoln

“I got to play with computers at MIT at a time when that was a real privilege,” recalls Mike Speciner, a self-described generalist who double-majored in math and physics. His wide-ranging career includes stints developing software, hardware, imaging algorithms, teleconferencing techniques, and much more. He holds multiple patents, has coauthored a book on network security, and cofounded The Singing Torah. Speciner is also something of a generalist in his giving to MIT, supporting numerous initiatives that help provide opportunities for MIT students and researchers. 

Inflation-protected giving. Speciner has made multiple gifts through the MIT Office of Gift Planning, including a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT), which provides income to donors and their designated beneficiaries. When a CRUT terminates, the gift goes to a designated cause at MIT, the Department of Mathematics in Speciner’s case. “I think of the CRUT primarily as a gift,” Speciner says, “but also as a tax deduction that avoids capital gains taxes, and an investment that provides inflation-protected income. MIT investment management is superb.”

A positive difference. Speciner’s first major gift supported music at MIT, and he continues to support the arts as a member of the Council for the Arts at MIT. Over the years he has given gifts in multiple areas he views as important to making a better world. “Math is fundamental to pretty much everything,” he says. “Physics to understanding how the universe works. Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences to understanding and ultimately saving the Earth. Brain and cognitive sciences for understanding understanding. MIT continues to make a positive difference in the world, and I can be a small part of that.”

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