Philanthropist donates $10 million to Graduate Engineering Leadership Program | MIT News

Daniel J. Riccio, a member of the School of Engineering’s Undergraduate Engineering Leadership Program Advisory Board, has donated $10 million to expand MIT’s Graduate Engineering Leadership Program, which will be renamed to recognition of this support. The donation will allow the program to grow and maintain operations for years to come and was first announced by Riccio and the School of Engineering at a meeting of program supporters on October 5.

The Daniel J. Riccio Graduate Engineering Leadership Program (GradEL) aims to build on the engineering education graduate students receive, helping to foster leadership abilities and develop engineers who can inspire and guide teams throughout their careers. “These kinds of skills are essential for engineers to succeed,” says Riccio, vice president of engineering at Apple.

“It’s true not just for Apple but for many innovative companies that we’re not limited by ideas or by money – rather, we’re limited by having enough effective engineering leaders to bring to the table. market for complex innovative products,” says Riccio. “It’s a widely recognized problem. I want to do something about it. That’s why I’m ready to invest my time, my energy and my money in this program.

MIT established the undergraduate-focused Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership (GEL) program in 2007, which serves approximately 150 students each year. Due to the success of this program, the School of Engineering launched GradEL four years ago. With guidance and support from GradSAGE – a group of graduate students who advise the School of Engineering and help set priorities – GradEL has grown from a classroom to a series of lectures and workshops culminating in a Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership. Like the undergraduate program, the graduate program aims to help students become leaders within engineering to propel their careers and increase their impact.

“I am extremely grateful for this gift and excited about the potential it holds for the future of GradEL,” said Anantha Chandrakasan, Dean of the School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “With this generous donation, the program is well supported in its ongoing efforts to develop potential future leaders in engineering.”

“Daniel Riccio’s donation will enable the graduate program to move from a ‘startup for scrap’ to the type of sustainable program that characterizes the longer duration undergraduate program,” adds Reza Rahaman, co-director of the Industry Bernard M. Gordon and Senior Lecturer. The program will invest in industry relationships to develop clerkship opportunities for students, develop curriculum, market and promote the program to attract more student participants.

“What this will really allow us to do is both increase the waterline in terms of the number of students we can hire and, at the same time, create a group of engineering leaders world class who can get out there and tackle the toughest challenges. problems and have an incredible impact on the world,” says Rahaman.

Rahaman earned his graduate and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering at the Institute and returned to MIT four years ago to serve as the organization’s chief of technical leadership and communications (TLC) programs at the Institute. ‘School of Engineering, which include both GEL and GradEL.

“I believe that MIT provides its students, especially its PhDs, with the best technical education in the world. And I believe that if you combine the technical education with the leadership skills this program can give you, the effect is not just additive, but multiplicative,” says Rahaman. “Engineering leadership is a force multiplier for academic depth and student academic prowess.”

Martha Gray, Faculty Co-Director for TLC Programs and Whitaker Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, reiterated “the absolute importance of leadership and professional development” as part of a comprehensive educational experience. at MIT.

“I strongly believe in the importance of leadership, and professional development more generally, for any MIT graduate,” she says.

Last year, an MIT task force tasked with reinventing MIT in a post-pandemic world recommended that every student graduating from the Institute be required to pursue some kind of professional development. This is what the Daniel J. Riccio Graduate Engineering Leadership Program aims to deliver.

“MIT has clearly found a formula that works really well for taking brilliant technicians and giving them great technical training,” says Joel Schindall, Gordon Professor of Practice. emeritus and founding industrial co-director of the GEL program. “But you also need teamwork, communication and leadership skills, as well as determination and character.”

“MIT not only wants our graduates to have the knowledge and skills, but we want them to be able to apply them in real-world environments to produce products and processes that make a difference in the world,” he adds. -he.

The gift will be a game-changer,” says Maria Yang, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering and Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1978).

“MIT is proud of its long tradition of fostering top research talent in its graduate programs,” Yang says. “We believe this approach will enable a new breed of researchers/technologists ready to lead and innovate in response to the challenges of the future.”

The program is designed to help MIT students stand out as they transition from educational experience to professional life.

“Exceptional engineering leaders ultimately have the attitude and ability to bring complex technical products to market; they lead innovative technical organizations; they make things happen that just wouldn’t happen without them,” says Riccio.

GradEL must now deliver the initial deliverables of its program and raise additional funds in order to unlock another donation from Riccio.

Kevin E. Boling