Gift Supports Students in Charting Their Own Paths
March 01, 2023
Caroline and Hank (PhD '83) Blauvelt
Credit: photo courtesy of the Blauvelts
The new Blauvelt Fellowship gives graduate students in applied physics and materials science freedom to experiment and explore.
As the digital revolution took root in the 1980s, television was still operating in an analog world, where signal interference caused static, snow, and ghosting. We owe the high-quality images we enjoy today in part to Henry "Hank" Blauvelt (PhD ʼ83), whose work in fiber optic communications helped usher in the digital television era. Blauvelt, in turn, credits Caltech for giving him the skills and the network to make these contributions.
"Caltech's environment took me from being interested in science and technology to being an active contributor," Blauvelt says. This happened in part, he adds, because Caltech imposed no limits on his and other graduate students' research. "We didn't have to make a business case for what we were doing. We could focus on things that interested us. It wasn't until years later that I truly came to appreciate that."
Now, Blauvelt and his wife, Caroline Blauvelt, have endowed a graduate fellowship to ensure that new generations of students will have that same freedom to experiment and explore. With a preference for those studying applied physics and materials science, the Henry and Caroline Blauvelt Fellowship enables students to follow their academic passions. The couple's $500,000 gift was amplified by the Gordon and Betty Moore Graduate Fellowship Match, which provides $1 for every $2 donated.