Remembering Big Jimmy

A group of MIT students has created a scholarship fund – and a mural – to honor long-time and much-loved security guard James E. Roberts Sr.

James E. Roberts Sr. was better known as “Big Jimmy” during the nearly 20 years he patrolled the East Campus and Senior House residence halls. After the popular and beloved night watchman died in 2005, a group of students launched a campaign to establish a memorial scholarship fund in his name. The group also got a grant to bring Tats Cru, a team of graffiti artists from the Bronx, to MIT in May to paint a mural of Big Jimmy. The portable mural will be displayed at both East Campus and Senior House.

“Big Jimmy was the best friend you could have at MIT – generous, caring, loyal, funny, irreverent, genuine, unique. He brought the Institute down to earth for generations of east-side students,” recalls Zoz Brooks, an electrical-engineering graduate student and Senior House resident who helped start the fund-raising campaign. “He would never have given up looking after them, so we set up the scholarship to ensure that his name lived on doing that. I’m sure he would have done it himself if he’d had the means.”

To contribute to Big Jimmy’s memorial scholarship fund, visit giving.mit.edu, enter “Big Jimmy” under “search by fund name/number,” click “add to my gift list,” and follow the instructions provided.

[Click here to see a mural created to honor James E. Roberts Sr. (“Big Jimmy”).]

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