• Jane Arnault-Factor
    Jane Arnault-Factor

December Greetings from the Associates President

On behalf of the Associates board, committee members, and the staff, I would like to wish each of you and your families a peaceful holiday season. Whether you will be traveling or staying close to home, we hope that you will have an enjoyable break with loved ones.

For Caltech, 2016 has been an exciting year. We celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Institute and the Associates' 90th anniversary, which honored the first 100 founding members and the many Associates who continue to foster discovery and build a lasting legacy of support of the Institute's quest to help change the world.

As an integral part of Caltech's unique culture of innovation and excellence, Associates experienced some of this year's most remarkable breakthroughs with diverse event and travel programs. Associates members traveled to the LIGO site in Hanford, Washington, where scientists for the first time in history detected gravitational waves and confirmed Einstein's general theory of relativity; we heard firsthand from Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown about the discovery of evidence for a real ninth planet; we learned about Dianne Newman's pioneering research in bringing tools commonly used in geochemistry to facilitate environmentally informed studies of pathogens in chronic infections that led to her recent MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship; and we enjoyed new panel discussions addressing topics ranging from the drought to the future of driverless cars.

This past year also marked the launch of one of the most ambitious philanthropic initiatives in the history of Caltech. Break Through: The Caltech Campaign aims to raise $2 billion to secure the Institute's future as a source of discovery for the world. The Associates held campaign celebrations on campus and in the Bay Area and in New York. The campaign will provide Caltech's remarkable scholars and inventors with resources to discover and innovate for generations to come. 

The Associates supported some of Caltech's bright, hardworking future world changers—undergraduate and graduate students who help drive Caltech's consistently extraordinary advances in science and technology. Please take a moment to read some of the impact stories on the Associates' website that feature these outstanding individuals, whose research experiences are bolstered by your investment.

As you learn about these talented people, I hope you will think about your end-of-year giving and join me by helping to endow education for all future students by supporting the Caltech Associates Endowed Graduate Fellowship, enabling the pursuit of creative ideas wherever they lead.

These accomplishments are an opportunity to celebrate and to look ahead to the years to come. Caltech is a place where uncharted territory is explored and big ideas lead to breakthroughs. Our first speaker of the new year is extending such frontiers. On January 12, 2017, Sarkis Mazmanian, Caltech's Luis B. and Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology and a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, will discuss his lab's advances showing that specific microbes improve symptoms of anxiety and autism, laying the groundwork for harnessing the human microbiome to develop revolutionary treatments for neurological diseases that afflict mankind. (View save the date.)

Our thanks to Catherine and all the staff, Cathy, Lelia, Megan, Nicola, and Ruby for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year for the Associates on our behalf.

Together with my husband, Max, I hope the New Year brings you much health and happiness and we look forward to seeing you in January.

—Jane Arnault-Factor, PhD, Caltech Associates Board President