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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 18, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Simonyi gives big to Princeton institute

Medina software pioneer Charles Simonyi is backing a $100 million challenge grant to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the largest gift since the research center was founded in 1930.

The $100 million is expected to be matched by other grants over the next four years, giving a huge boost to the institute, which has supported the work of scientists such as Albert Einstein, Kurt Godel, J. Robert Oppenheimer and others.

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The challenge grant was made by the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences — which has also given to the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Public Library and the Museum of Flight — and the Simons Foundation.

“The institute’s role in promoting and cultivating original scholarship in the sciences and humanities is unparalleled,” Simonyi said in a release. “It is of utmost importance to sustain the work of this institution of international renown and reach where scholars have the freedom to pursue their research in an environment dedicated to the advancement of ideas that change our understanding of the world.”

Simonyi, who helped create Microsoft’s application software business, earlier supported the insititute’s school of mathematics, endowed a theoretical physics professorship and started an endowment fund. In 2000, the math school’s building was named Simonyi Hall.

Comments | Topics: Billionaire techies, Microsoft, Philanthropy

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