• Ronald and Maxine Linde
    Credit: Bob Paz
01/26/2011 00:00:00

Caltech Receives $12.3 Million to Train Scientific Leaders in Business and Industry

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has announced the creation of the Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences. The initiative will bring together the best scientific minds and the best quantitative business practices, permitting a distinctive and targeted educational opportunity for Caltech's students and providing cutting-edge research opportunities for Caltech's faculty.

The new institute will be funded with an $8.2 million endowment established by Ronald and Maxine Linde and a $4.1 million addition to the endowment from the Gordon and Betty Moore matching program.

"Caltech students benefit greatly from exposure to the intellectual tools to become responsible, capable entrepreneurs and business managers," says Caltech's president, Jean-Lou Chameau. "By establishing the Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences, Ronald and Maxine Linde will foster the future growth of education and research activities that will prepare our students to assume leadership roles in industry and academia."

The new institute will be multidisciplinary, building on the success of Caltech's current Business, Economics, and Management (BEM) program by organizing its education and research activities into a single entity. BEM is an undergraduate option launched in 2002 and administered by the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

The Linde Institute will be led by Peter Bossaerts, the William D. Hacker Professor of Economics and Management and professor of finance at Caltech, and will bring together current faculty while enhancing the Institute's ability to recruit additional scholars working in these areas.

"The new institute will enable Caltech to build on the excellence of its current research in the interdisciplinary areas that impact economics and management," says Ronald Linde, vice chair of Caltech's Board of Trustees. "It also will allow Caltech to equip its students with the proper background and tools to excel should they choose to become entrepreneurs or should they become involved in technology management."

Caltech is one of the few institutions at which such a program could be attempted, Linde adds, "because it combines an exceptional student population with a faculty that has chosen to pursue only the most analytically rigorous approach to business, economics, and management education."

"Caltech has taken a unique approach to the study of business," says HSS division chair Jonathan N. Katz. "Differing from a traditional business school model that is based primarily on inductively studying cases, Caltech's BEM program is rigorous, quantitative, and highly interdisciplinary. It provides students with analytical and conceptual tools to succeed in a modern, volatile business environment. To our knowledge, Caltech is the only institution to apply this social-scientific approach to undergraduate business education."

However, he adds, the BEM program—which is currently one of the most popular majors for students at Caltech—has "reached a threshold," requiring additional support to create a stronger infrastructure and unite the faculty working both within BEM and across Caltech's scientific disciplines.

"The Linde Institute will create a forum for sharing resources and making connections across campus," says Katz. "And it will foster the future growth and development of education and research activities."

The Lindes have sponsored numerous other scientific and research-intensive activities at Caltech, as well as a research facilities challenge grant. In 2008, the Lindes established an $18 million endowment at Caltech to create the Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, which will be housed in a renovated 1930s laboratory. The Linde + Robinson Laboratory is scheduled to open in early 2012.

Written by Lori Oliwenstein