Mike Abrams '77

At her inauguration on March 22, President Grace Wang announced $18.5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends in the lead up to her installation as WPI’s 17th president. Mike Abrams ’77 and his wife, Nancy, made a seven-figure commitment, and the fourth largest gift to the university to date, to support future capital projects. Mike was an electrical engineer in the oil and gas instrumentation industry and before retiring had become an independent consultant.

He is a model of alumni involvement and has served in numerous volunteer capacities over decades, including on the Alumni Association, the Presidential Search Committee that brought President Wang to WPI, reunion committees, and many other committees and boards. He frequently attends WPI events, on campus and around the country, and received the Herbert F. Taylor Award for Service to WPI from the WPI Alumni Association.

A consistent and generous annual and major donor to WPI, Mike has supported a plethora of funds and initiatives at the university from academic departments and scholarships to varsity athletics and intramural teams and a wide range of student organizations. He frequently offers challenges and matches on WPI giving days to encourage other alumni to participate in giving back. Creating space for living and learning has remained a priority for Mike throughout his philanthropic history with his alma mater. The Abrams’ recent capital gifts to the university include renovations that created the Alumni Center at Higgins House, which resulted in the naming of the Nancy and Mike Abrams ’77 Library in Higgins House; leadership support of Unity Hall, WPI’s newest academic building, which includes the Nancy and Mike Abrams ’77 Multi-use Lounge and Creative Zone; and a recent gift to support renovations to Stratton Hall, home of the Mathematical Sciences Department, Mike's major at WPI.

When asked about his latest generous commitment to his alma mater, here’s what Mike shared.

Q. What does WPI mean to you?

A. WPI to me will always be about The Plan. It is what drew me to WPI. It is what makes WPI a standout among engineering schools. The WPI Plan provides an education that is unique in actually preparing students to be immediately productive in their first job. A project team at WPI is almost exactly like a project/product/engineering/development team in the working world.  

Q. What motivated you to make this commitment to WPI?

A. I enjoy walking around the WPI campus every time I am there. I love looking at the buildings, thinking about the places I went and used when I was a student. I enjoy musing about how the spaces on campus are used by the students today. I observe students to try to learn about their interactions with the campus. The students, faculty, and staff change, but the land and buildings remain. The physical plant needs to change, be renewed, and updated to reflect the needs of the times. Supporting capital projects at WPI satisfies my desire to help make those needed changes happen.  

Q. What do you hope your gift will achieve—either for future generations of students and faculty at WPI, or for individuals and communities beyond our campus, or both?

A.  WPI is a relatively compact campus. It is not always possible for students and faculty to find the necessary space for everything they want to accomplish. I hope my gift will help to expand the multiplicity of spaces in which meaningful work, study, and relaxation can occur.