June 13, 2018

Celebrating Caltech Donors, Students, and Unicorns

"The beaver may be our official mascot, but to many outside our community, Techers are considered unicorns," says Robert Eng, a scholarship recipient and member of Caltech's Class of 2018.

“In myth, the unicorn is an extremely rare, revered, and coveted creature with mythical capabilities. Similarly, the Techer is an extremely rare, revered, and sought-after individual with mathematical capabilities.”

At Caltech’s annual scholarship reception, held this year on Sunday, May 20, members of the Institute’s community celebrated the university’s unwavering standard of academic excellence as it is embodied in scholarship donors and recipients alike.

“My reason for donating to undergraduate scholarships is to help all of our students be at their best when they go out to face the world.”
- Mike Walsh

One of the event speakers was Mike Walsh (BS ’81), cofounder of Quotient Technology, Inc. (formerly known as Coupons.com). Walsh described how the rigors of a Caltech education helped him develop the focus, creativity, and perspective to excel in an entrepreneurial career full of challenges. Now, he is committed to supporting scholarships to make sure that new generations of Techers are equipped to “raise the game everywhere they go.”

Eng intends to continue the cycle and give back to his alma mater one day. “In the future, I see myself in the same position as many of the alumni I meet, following in their footsteps—or unicorn hoof steps—and tackling the hardest problems in the world,” he says. “By then, it will be my turn to support the next generation of Caltech students!”

More than half of Caltech’s undergraduates receive financial assistance, so raising funds for scholarships is a top priority of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign. To uphold its need-blind admissions policy, the Institute has announced a long-term goal of raising $120 million in endowed scholarship funds and an immediate goal of securing $5 million in current-use scholarships for students today.

In 2017, an anonymous alumnus set forth a fundraising challenge, offering to match all scholarship gifts or pledges of $75,000 or more with an additional $50,000. As of May 31, 2018, donors established 25 named scholarships through the challenge, helping bring the Institute more than halfway to its goal for endowed undergraduate scholarships.