Philanthropy Friday: Len Meyer '70
We caught up with Len Meyer '70 for a brief conversation on why he gives back and what excites him about WPI today.
Why do you stay connected to WPI? What motivates you to give to WPI?
I have always drawn deep satisfaction from my education. WPI provided a grand awakening….. strength of materials, heat transfer, stress analysis, thermo, fluids, and the like… they all engendered an intimate understanding of the world around us, both in nature and in the things that man has created. Many people know the “How” of the way something functions, but we learned the “Why”. It is something that is now ingrained in the way we think, without us even realizing it.
As I looked back, I remembered that the scholarships WPI gave me were the only way I could have afforded to attend. So it is only natural to want to help others find their awakening.
A gift to WPI is doubly valuable, because it is also earned by the recipient through their acceptance and graduation. An opportunity can be given, but not the education itself, which is fully earned, and is a permanent reward.
What do you hope your gift will achieve for future generations at WPI?
Investment in people will always yield a positive return. Education is a great equalizer; it can help raise people to their full potential and make a profound improvement to their lives and those of the people around them.
What do you enjoy about coming back to campus?
It’s a mind-bending trip back in time and into the future, in the same moment! Most of the places we worked, lived, and played are still there, supplemented by a whole array of wonderful new facilities. I can still visualize the then empty spaces that are now beautiful edifices of learning and other activities. But how I miss Alumni Gym!
Visits are always conducted with classmates, which raises the experience to a much higher level.
What excites you about WPI now, and in the future?
The proliferation of technology on campus is truly amazing. When you see it in your own life, the change is in slow motion, but a trip to WPI shows the quantum leap over the last few decades. We were taught about technology assessment at WPI, and the projected exponential curve depicting technological growth. It was a somewhat abstract concept at the time, but it is now clear when visiting WPI. And to think, today that curve has the same shape for the future!
Why do you volunteer for WPI? What would you say to other alumni and friends to encourage them to stay connected—and to give back?
Of course, everyone has their own situation regarding interests, resources, and opportunities. Arguably all of us have already given back in one way or another by taking our WPI education out into the world and accomplishing so many diverse things. (There were two that stand out to me, both discovered on television. One classmate was on QVC selling his product, and the other was Steve Maynard ’76 discussing his soap factory turned toy store!) Some people will send their children to WPI, others will donate their time or money. But, we have all made an imprint just by doing what we do!