Home  /  About

About the Caltech Associates

Photo of Caltech Associates at a garden party

Supporting scientific breakthrough for nearly 100 years

On the evening of March 9, 1926, one hundred distinguished individuals from Southern California gathered together at the home of Henry E. Huntington.

They called themselves the Associates of the California Institute of Technology, an unassuming name for a band of visionary benefactors whose confidence in the promise of Caltech would transform every part of the Institute and help launch many of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th Century.

It is no exaggeration to say that Caltech is Caltech because of the Associates. Their legacy of sustained, unrestricted giving—$1,000 per year for 10 years—helped to create the modern Caltech campus, recruit and retain the brightest minds at every stage of scientific inquiry, and provide the critical foundational funding for daring research ideas. During the darkest hours of the Great Depression, when many universities were compelled to retreat, the Associates' unfettered dedication and generosity propelled Caltech forward.

There is no date in the history of the California Institute of Technology more significant than March 9, 1926, the first meeting of the California Institute Associates.

Robert Andrews Millikan
Co-founder of the modern Caltech

Over the ensuing decades, their investments paid dividends to society and provided the margin of excellence that, to cite just one example, the Institute counts 46 Caltech alumni and faculty who have won a total of 47 Nobel Prizes, most recently by John F. Clauser (BS'64) in 2022.

We are a community that socializes, learns, discovers, dines, and travels together. Founded in 1926, our mission is to create a better world by philanthropically supporting the Institute through membership dollars that provide crucial unrestricted funding of pathbreaking research.

The Associates' collective efforts have seeded innovations and helped elevate the impact of Caltech science and engineering. Our members have contributed funds toward 37 campus buildings, 52 endowed professorships, and countless fellowships and scholarships—so far. More than 1,700 members help to provide Caltech's faculty, students, and researchers with the resources and freedom they require to advance transformative discoveries.

A Special Community

The Associates is your open door to Caltech. Intellectually curious and globally focused, Associates members are passionate about being part of solutions that will shape the future and forging friendships along the way. We know that investing in Caltech yields powerful results.

With regional committees in Southern California, Northern California and the East Coast, Associates participate in stimulating presentations and inspiring travel opportunities, all featuring Caltech faculty, students, and internationally renowned experts. Events offer timely, intimate insights into the Institute's latest discoveries and research in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and the arts.

Caltech is changing the world. Join the Associates and be part of the legacy!