June 14, 2017

Caltech Extends a Heartfelt Thank-You to Scholarship Donors

Each year, Caltech celebrates donors who provide support for undergraduate scholarships by hosting a special reception where they can mingle with the students who have benefited from their generosity. This year’s event was held on May 21, 2017.

Many alumni donors choose to create scholarships as a way to express gratitude for the financial assistance they received when they were students. Other benefactors—alumni as well as non-alumni—provide scholarship support because they see that Caltech is a place where tomorrow’s leaders in science and engineering learn by example how to pioneer world-changing ideas. This sentiment is shared by 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Carl Larson (BS ’52), who, together with his wife, Shirley, has been an ardent supporter of Caltech for 30 years.

“The simple logic is if you want good science to continue, you have to have replacements,” Larson remarked at this year’s scholarship brunch. “There’s no place, in my opinion—my belief, really—that does a better job of providing an environment where people can learn to be scientists than Caltech.”

Also speaking at the event was graduating senior Robert Sanchez, a Carnation Scholarship Fund recipient and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. “I was fortunate enough to get to decide between Stanford and Caltech,” Sanchez said. “When I received a scholarship, it affected not just my Caltech experience, but really my life experience.”

Donors and students at Caltech’s scholarship brunch on May 21, 2017

Raising funds to ensure that Caltech can continue to offer financial aid to help change students’ lives is a top priority of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign. The Institute has set a long-term goal of raising $120 million in endowed funds to support the undergraduates of tomorrow and an immediate goal of securing $5 million in current-use scholarships for students today. Fulfilling these goals will ensure that Caltech can sustain its need-blind admissions policy, offering students who meet its uncompromising admissions criteria whatever financial aid package they need to attend.

As of May 31, 2017, Caltech has reached nearly half of its scholarship endowment goal. To further accelerate progress, an anonymous benefactor has created a 3:2 challenge, whereby scholarship gifts or pledges of $75,000 or more will be matched with $50,000 from the challenge. Read more about the challenge below.

Growing scholarship funds will enable Caltech to uphold its need-blind admissions policy and continue to recruit and support talented scholars. More than half of Caltech undergraduates receive financial assistance. Need-based scholarships foster intellectual equity and an academic community that is enriched by a diversity of perspectives and passions.

“Whether you get involved by making gifts to the annual fund, by endowing scholarships, or by supporting our programs in Student Affairs,” said Kevin Gilmartin, professor of English and dean of undergraduate students at Caltech, “your support has a made a difference to the students gathered with us here, and to our entire undergraduate community.”

Kevin Gilmartin, professor of English and dean of undergraduate students at Caltech, at the scholarship brunch

About the Scholarship Challenge

At current giving levels, donors can endow a permanent undergraduate scholarship at Caltech with a gift of at least $100,000, or fund a one-year, current-use scholarship with a gift of $25,000. By taking advantage of the anonymous 3:2 challenge, donors can create both an endowed scholarship and a current-use scholarship with a single gift of $75,000 or more.

Here is how it works: A new scholarship gift or pledge of at least $75,000, payable over a period of up to five years, will be matched with $50,000 from the challenge. The match brings the total commitment to $125,000, funding an endowed scholarship that will benefit Caltech undergraduates for generations to come, together with a current-use scholarship that can be awarded to a student today. Both scholarships may be named in honor of the donor, a loved one, or someone else of the donor’s choosing.

For more information about how you can establish a named scholarship fund, or to request information about the scholarship challenge match, please contact Megan MacDonald, development officer for academic divisions and regions, at (626) 395-8802 or mmacdonald@caltech.edu. Additionally, you may contact Development and Institute Relations at give@caltech.edu.