December 12, 2016

Caltech Class of 1981 Raises $70,000 Reunion Gift

Each year during Alumni Reunion Weekend—an annual event that brings together graduates for social activities, presentations, and campus and lab tours—Caltech alumni have the opportunity to honor their graduating classes and support current and former students by contributing to a reunion gift.

Leading up to Alumni Reunion Weekend 2016, members of the class of 1981 raised over $70,000 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their graduation. This impressive total was reached thanks to the collective generosity of 46 individuals.

Michael Walsh (BS ’81)

One of the lead gifts came from Michael Walsh (BS ’81, applied mathematics), who was inspired to contribute $10,000 after attending the launch event for Break Through: The Caltech Campaign in San Francisco and hearing about the reunion gift. The chief security officer and head of R&D at Quotient Technology Inc., Walsh wanted to help strengthen the Caltech community and maintain the campus culture he knew—and loved—so well.

“I wouldn’t enjoy my current success if it weren’t for my Caltech experience,” Walsh says. “I was challenged to produce top-flight work and gained the confidence to compete with some of the smartest people I had ever met. I’m thrilled to be able to help preserve and enhance those benefits for today’s students.”

“Being at Caltech, you learn a way of thinking—you have more arrows in your quiver. These tools will help you for the rest of your life.”
- Michael Walsh

Walsh appreciated more than just Caltech’s high standards in science and technology during his undergraduate years. Like all aspiring college students, he took part in a few extracurricular activities in high school. But at Caltech he was surrounded by fellow high achievers and felt more encouraged to try new things. He joined athletics groups. He explored drama and public speaking. These activities enriched his experience and fostered additional skills that helped him to succeed in his career.

“Anyone serious about science needs to stretch their artistic muscles,” Walsh says. “Caltech gave me the opportunity to become more well rounded.”

Most of the class of 1981 reunion gift was allocated to the Caltech Fund, providing unrestricted resources that support all aspects of Caltech life. Other funds were directed to undergraduate scholarships, house endowment funds, the Caltech Associates, and additional areas of interest to the individual donors.

Augmenting his giving, Walsh is reconnecting with Caltech in other ways. In summer 2016, he participated in a mentorship program and invited three Caltech undergraduates to work as interns at Quotient, a pioneer in digital promotions. Students had the opportunity to design a prototype, and the results were a big success.

“Being at Caltech, you learn a way of thinking—you have more arrows in your quiver,” Walsh says. “These tools will help you for the rest of your life.”

To learn more about the Caltech Fund or to contribute to your class’s reunion gift, please visit the reunion giving page.