WORCESTER, Mass. – February 12, 2009 – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey and his wife, Catherine, are making a charitable gift of $100,000 to the university. The gift establishes The Dennis and Catherine Berkey President’s Discretionary Fund, which will support the work of future WPI presidents by empowering them to provide both strategic and spontaneous support for promising programs and initiatives.
"WPI has come to mean so much to Cathy and me, and we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to this university – and its future – with a strategically targeted gift," Berkey said. "Cathy and I specifically wanted to provide future presidents of WPI with purely discretionary funds to encourage them to give unexpected recognition and reward for deserving faculty or students, empower them to stimulate interest in a new area by sponsoring someone to attend a conference, or even just enable them to host a visiting speaker. Often it is the small gesture that has the greatest impact, and this fund will be a constructive reminder to my successors of the importance of these acts."
The Berkeys’ gift provides future presidents with the latitude to support strategic and innovative activities. "WPI was founded by those who led by example, and Dennis and Cathy Berkey continue to foster this university’s foundation of leadership," said Dexter Bailey, WPI’s vice president of development and alumni relations. "As we continue to build our fund-raising program, their commitment to WPI is inspirational, and their efforts will make an important difference to the future of this institution. We are deeply grateful for this generous and thoughtful gift."
Dennis Berkey was appointed WPI’s 15th president in 2004, following more than 30 years of service in a variety of higher education positions. He is an award-winning teacher and the author of several mathematics textbooks. His published research is in applied mathematics. Last year, Berkey was appointed by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts to serve as chair of its executive committee of college and university presidents. President Berkey was also appointed to serve on the steering commission of the Leaders For Education coalition last year, an appointment that allows him to work with business, civic, and higher education leaders to provide support for changes in public education and to put education reform back in a primary position on Beacon Hill. Berkey also serves on numerous boards, including UMass Memorial Heath Care Inc., the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative, the Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Initiative, and Worcester’s Research Bureau. He is a member of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and has previously served as a trustee of Muskingum College, the Dibner Institute for Science and Technology, and the Huntington Theatre.