in Massachusetts has announced a $40 million gift from alumnus Robert A. Foisie ('56).
The largest gift in the university's 149-year history will help support undergraduate student scholarships. Already the university's largest donor prior to his latest gift, Foisie has provided scholarships to nearly six hundred WPI students through seventeen scholarships named in honor of WPI professors who influenced his life. His new gift, which was made as part of a $200 million capital campaign, brings his total giving to WPI to more than $63 million. In recognition of his generosity, the and a new innovation center will be named after him.
Foisie is a first-generation college graduate who received scholarships during his undergraduate years at WPI and as he was working toward a master's degree from . A trustee emeritus of WPI, Foisie began his engineering career at Hamilton Standard Co. and later served as chief production engineer at in Hartford. Early in his career, he found a way to simplify the design of a fuel control valve for jet aircraft, which led to a patent. In addition, he is the founder and former president of , an import, distribution, and service firm specializing in paper-processing machinery, and the former owner of a Swiss company that makes cartoning and packaging machinery.
"The financial assistance that I received during my time at WPI allowed me to stay in school and realize my potential as an innovator and entrepreneur," said Foisie. "This university means a great deal to me, and the knowledge that I gained here, the people I engaged with, and my experiences have been invaluable to my growth as a person and a successful businessman. This gift is the fulfillment of my dream to establish a scholarship fund that would support qualified students with financial need and a burning ambition to make a difference in the world."