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D’Arbeloffs Bestow $10 Million on MIT

By Steve Hoberman

Chairman of the MIT Corporation and Teradyne cofounder Alexander V. d’Arbeloff ’49 and his wife Brit donated $10 million to the Institute to promote new uses of technology in education.

The donation will go toward the creation of the Alex and Brit d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education.

“Educational change is in the wind throughout academia,” said President Charles M. Vest who announced the fund’s creation at Friday’s Corporation meeting. “This magnificent gift will enable our faculty to translate into action the wealth of new pedagogical ideas welling up through MIT,” he said.

The fund will be controlled by a committee that is chaired by the Chancellor. First year members of the committee will include the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education and the chair of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program. Faculty will also be included, but no individual faculty members have been named.

Gift to aid education technology

The gift was intended to support faculty initiatives that use technology to better science education. Although a great deal of new educational technology is internet related, it is not clear if teacher proposals involving this new technology will receive preference.

“After being at MIT for about a year, I felt that this initiative is very important to the future of MIT and the rest of the time was necessary to work out the details,” d’Arbeloff said.

“In a university, it’s faculty whose support is the key to any change in the educational methodology. It is similar in a business where support of engineers is essential to developing new world class products,” d’Arbeloff said.

Gift was well-received

Student reactions to the gift were optimistic. “It seems to give faculty a new degree of freedom,” said one student.

Jason S. Kim G said, “I don’t think technology is an end in and of itself, but if it gets the material across better I’m all for it.”

D’Arbeloff’s contribution is the fifth largest gift MIT has received in the last ten years. “This is a great institution. MIT has a great impact on the US and the world,” he said.

Unlike most gifts this one is not earmarked for a particular lab or research project.

Other d’Arbeloff contributions

This gift is not d’Arbeloff’s only contribution to the Institute. He was elected a member of the Corporation in 1989, and became a life member in 1994. In addition, he has taught at the Sloan School and has endowed a chair in the Mechanical Engineering department.

D’Arbeloff founded Teradyne Inc. along with MIT classmate Nicholas DeWolf ’48 in 1960. The company produced testing equipment for semi-conductors. D’Arbeloff rose to CEO in 1971, and served as president until 1996.

Brit d’Arbeloff, MS ’61, is also an active member of the MIT community. Most recently, she spoke as the Department of Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Alumni lecturer. She also serves as a member of several Visiting Committees.