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Joseph and Christiane Alsop

Prides Crossing, MA

Joseph Alsop and his wife, Christiane, recently made a gift to the Institute, and they chose to let MIT determine where it’s most needed.

“Our main purpose in making this gift is to further education,” Alsop says. “Superior education provides enormous long-term benefits to society by empowering young people to fully utilize their talents.”

The Alsops chose to make this gift because they trust MIT’s leadership. “MIT has a long history of making valuable contributions to the world,” Joseph says, “and we have confidence that the ­people who run the Institute can best decide how the money should be put to use.”

This story is part of the January/February 2008 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
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Alsop’s family has a record of contributing to the world, too. ­Presi­dent Theodore Roosevelt was his grandmother’s uncle, and Eleanor Roosevelt was her first cousin. His father, Stewart Alsop, and uncle Joseph Alsop were influential political journalists from the 1940s through the 1970s.

In 1955, Joe sat in when the journalist Edward R. Murrow interviewed his father, who was then editor of the Saturday Evening Post, on the live TV program Person to Person. During the interview, ­Murrow asked Joe, then 10, what he liked to do. “I like to hack around with electric motors,” he told the newsman, who quipped that the boy was “a mechanical genius.”

Alsop pursued that interest at MIT, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1967. He did graduate work at the MIT Sloan School of Management but left in 1968 to launch Intercomp, a Cambridge computer company he began with other MIT alumni. He sold the company in 1972, and for the next 10 years he worked as a business and technical consultant for several firms across the U.S. He then cofounded Progress Software in Bedford, MA, now a half-billion-dollar software infrastructure provider with 1,700 employees worldwide.

“I am grateful to the Institute for contributing to my career and success, so it is a natural place to try to contribute something back,” Alsop says. “And I hope that as we all invest in the education of young people, there will be a major payoff for the world.”

For giving information, contact Stephen A. Dare:
(617) 253-7574; dare@mit.edu.
Or visit giving.mit.edu.

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