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MIT will receive a $1.25 million endowment over the next five years from the Toda Corporation of Japan, one of Japan's top general contractors. The first installment of $250,000 will be used for research at the discretion of MIT, the rest will be invested as an interest-producing endowment.
The funds will create opportunities for international contact between the people of MIT and Toda through joint research and mutual visits.
According to Michael Joroff, director of research and development in the School of Architecture, an initial allocation of some of the Toda funds will go to the MIT Program in Innovative Housing Construction, a major research program aimed at improving the performance and production of housing. Income from the endowment may further be used to create Toda Fellowships for graduate students and/or faculty members every year who are interested in pursuing research in this area.
Some of the funds may also be used for a central research facility to house MIT's Building Technology Program, a program closely aligned with Toda's interests in the field and designed to develop a new breed of professional known as the building technologist. The building technologist will not actually design or build buildings, but will instead develop new techniques and materials for those tasks, as well as for the proper operation of the building.
The Toda Corporation offers integrated services in planning, development, design, construction, maintenance and finance. Established in 1881, it has been involved in many overseas projects, beginning with the construction of a pavilion for the Anglo-Japanese Fair held in London in 1910. It has long-established subsidiaries in the US and Brazil, a new subsidiary in China, and a representative office in London, which will serve as a base to deal with the upcoming unified EC market.
MIT Chairman Paul E. Gray paid a visit to Toda in November, and last March Mr. Joroff was the featured speaker at a Toda seminar in Tokyo.
A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 23).