01/19/2012 08:00:00

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Gives $25 Million to Enrich Campus Life, Outreach Programs

Foundation is recognized for its support with naming of new Bechtel Residence

PASADENA, Calif.—With an interest in enhancing the living and learning environment at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has pledged $25 million to support campus life and outreach programs.

The focus of the five-year gift, in accordance with the wishes of the Foundation, will be on promoting a robust and unified “Caltech experience” for all students. The gift will also provide support to expand and strengthen the Institute’s commitment to K−12 educational programs and engagement with students and teachers throughout California.

In recognition of the Foundation’s generous commitment, Caltech will name a new undergraduate residence, the Bechtel Residence, in honor of Caltech Life Trustee Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.

Anneila Sargent, vice president for student affairs and the Rosen Professor of Astronomy, says the Bechtel Residence will “strengthen Caltech’s existing housing system by ensuring that all Caltech students have the opportunity to live on campus and experience the supportive, familial environment that residential life offers.”

“The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has been a dedicated and loyal partner to Caltech for many years, with an enduring commitment to investing in our students,” says Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau. “With this generous gift, and the Foundation’s thoughtful support and vision, we will continue to enrich every student's experience—providing them with the space in which to foster lifelong friendships, develop extraordinary ideas, and grow as individuals and as a community of compassionate scholars and leaders.”

Bechtel’s daughter Lauren Dachs, who is the President of the Foundation, says “my father is delighted to support Caltech’s commitment to improving the experience of its students on campus and to expanding its outreach.  The Institute plays a vital role at a critical time in educating the brightest young minds in the country and to partner with Caltech in this effort is a true honor.” 

A planning committee, chaired by Sargent and including faculty, students, and staff, will soon be established to make recommendations for the new residence. 

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation was founded by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. in 1957. Over the years, Bechtel and the Foundation have helped advance Caltech’s mission of “learning through discovery” and have strengthened students’ personal and professional growth with support for capital projects—including the rebuilding and restoration of existing undergraduate houses—as well as scholarships and community outreach programs. 

Written by Shayna Chabner McKinney