To say that California Institute of Technology administrators left this past weekend’s Board of Trustees meeting with a feeling of satisfaction would be an understatement.
At the meeting, Caltech trustee and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty announced a $600 million gift to the school — the largest gift ever to an institution of higher education.
Half of the gift will be administered by the Moores’ foundation, and the couple is directly donating the other $300 million.
A longtime chairman of Intel Corporation who holds several patents for semiconductors, Moore said that he wants the gift to be used to keep Caltech at the forefront of research and technology. Caltech President Dr. David Baltimore said the money will be focused on strengthening current programs and attracting new faculty and grants.
Yale has never received a nine-figure donation, but University Vice President of Development Charles Pagnam said he hopes the gift will hopefully inspire Yale alumni.
“Clearly, [Moore] has the resources to make a gift at that level, and my hope is that by making a gift of that size it might help others to follow suit,” Pagnam said.
Pagnam said that Yale is definitely attempting to receive similar donations but that everything has to fall right for a donor to make a gift of such size. Pagnam cited Gordon Moore’s age, 72, as a factor that probably aided the donation’s finalization.
Former Physics Department chairman Charles Baltay, the leader of the research team that discovered a possible 10th planet, said private donations are becoming more and more crucial to university research, especially at Yale.
“The sciences at Yale really depend on federal funding,” Baltay said. “Over the last two years federal funding for sciences have been shrinking so that it is getting harder and harder to get research funds, and the funds get cut back every year.”
Gordon has served on the Caltech Board of Trustees for the past 18 years. Yale Corporation members have traditionally been an active donor pool.
The names of campus buildings — Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, and the Bass Center for Molecular and Structural Biology — read of current and former Corporation members and their families. Already this academic year, current members Roland Betts ’68 and Edward Bass ’68 and former Corporation member Frances Beinecke ’71 have donated substantially to the University.
Pagnam equates the Corporation’s active donor pattern to its composition.
“The Corporation is a very diverse group from an occupational standpoint and from their involvement with the University,” Pagnam said. “Out of the total group there has always been a handful [who] have the capacity to be supportive of the University in a philanthropic way.”
Pagnam said that Yale netted $350 million in cash alumni gifts for the fiscal year, behind Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities.
Moore — who stands at 29th on Forbes’ 2001 list of the 400 wealthiest Americans — graduated with a doctorate in chemistry from Caltech in 1952. He amassed his great personal fortune with Intel’s gains on the stock market.