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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- At a festive celebration Saturday night, marking the 50th anniversary of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, President Charles M. Vest made a surprise announcement. It was almost as dramatic as the spur-of-the-moment announcement last fall by Kenan E. Sahin (Class of 1963) that he would donate $100 million dollars to the Institute. That gift was a surprise not only in its timing and magnitude, but also in the fact that there were no strings attached. MIT could use the gift in any way it chose.
Saturday night, President Vest told the faculty, trustees, and guests assembled at the Museum of Fine Arts that $75 million of that gift will be used to establish the Kenan Sahin Fund for the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The remaining $25 million will be used to establish the Kenan Sahin Presidential Initiatives Fund.
The $75 million fund for the School will be used to establish a set of distinguished professorships, to create a graduate fellowship fund, to provide new space for the Department of Economics, to endow the Deanship of the School, and to support key educational initiatives within the School.
In announcing the Fund, President Vest said, "Science and technology will be of ever-increasing importance to the future of our society. The humanities, arts, and social sciences are essential to MIT's ability to educate wise and capable leaders for such a future. Kenan Sahin's extraordinary generosity provides this School with an unparalleled opportunity to enhance and sustain faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate programs of the highest quality. This in turn will have a significant effect on the quality of education for every student at MIT, and will secure a new level of intellectual vibrancy and creative spirit throughout the Institute."
The Dean of the School, History Professor Philip S. Khoury, expressed his delight at the decision to devote the major portion of the Sahin gift to his School.
"Kenan Sahin's devotion to MIT is remarkable and now legendary. He has long been a valued adviser to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and clearly recognizes how it contributes to educating the leaders of tomorrow through the integration of the humanities, arts, and social sciences into MIT's teaching and research mission.
"His magnificent gift will ensure that the School will continue to make these contributions for generations to come and in new and even more exciting and innovative ways. Dr. Sahin and MIT are making a statement about the value of humanistic education in the 21st century that will resonate far beyond the MIT campus," Khoury said.
When he announced the gift, Dr. Sahin said that he would look to President Vest, former presidents Paul E. Gray and Howard W. Johnson, and Chairman of the MIT Corporation Alex d'Arbeloff to determine how best to use his gift.
Sahin, who holds both bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees from MIT's Sloan School of Management, founded Kenan Systems, Inc., and is now group president for software products at Lucent Technologies and vice president of software technology at Bell Labs.
Commenting on the use of his gift, he said: "This gift to MIT was truly meant to be unrestricted. I relied on four people whose leadership has been shaping MIT over many decades to apply the funds in a way that would give even more powerful expression to the visions and aspirations of the Institute. MIT has been a key engine of the phenomenal evolution of science and technology and their application to many aspects of society. Focusing this gift on the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences means that these fields can become even more integral to the education of students as leaders and change agents in a global society paced by technology."
Howard W. Johnson, president emeritus and former chairman of the MIT Corporation, said "Kenan Sahin's gift and what it means for the MIT structure of learning and understanding is immense. It will add significant dimension to education, research and service centered around science and technology."
Specifically, the fund for the School will be used for the following purposes:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professorships in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences ($21 million). These professorships will be given on a School-wide basis.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½The Kenan Sahin Presidential Graduate Fellowship Fund ($24 million). These fellowships will support graduate students in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and in doctoral programs of the Sloan School of Management.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Funding for Economics space as part of the new building for the Sloan School ($20 million). Spatial proximity is a key feature of the important interactions between faculty in the Department of Economics and the Sloan School. This portion of the gift will fund space for the Economics Department within the new Sloan building.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½The Kenan Sahin Deanship of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences ($5 million). A named professorship for the Dean will enable the School to continue to attract distinguished scholars to this position.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Endowment for Educational Initiatives ($5 million). This endowment will support important educational initiatives that are key to sustaining the excellence of the School and the unique opportunities it affords to students throughout MIT.
The remaining $25 million of the gift will be used to establish the Kenan Sahin Presidential Strategic Fund, which the President of MIT may use to undertake one or more initiatives of major importance to the future of the Institute.