Dear Caltech Alumni—
I am writing to all Caltech graduates to share news about a recent decision made by the Institute’s Board of Trustees and leadership. It is essential that I write, as I, too, am a graduate of the school and, in my role as Chair of the Caltech Alumni Association, hold the honor of keeping you informed on significant campus developments.
To this end, please be advised that the Caltech Trustees decided to make changes to campus buildings’ names and memorials that simultaneously represent the best of our Institutes’ history and acknowledges the more troubling aspects of our history. The Institute made this difficult decision recognizing that alumni would receive it with a mixture of reactions.
Caltech is not insulated from the outside world. The fabric of innovation, which is strengthened through the interweaving of the Institute’s faculty, students, and staff in numerous scientific disciplines, can no longer be fully realized unless we are committed to a truly inclusive environment. As a globally leading institution, we must proactively set an example for others to follow.
Caltech is a living, changing, and adapting organization that we all expect will seek and shape humanity’s future. The challenge is how to keep these ideas in balance—honoring the past, our history, and forebearers and purposefully and deliberately designing a preferred future.
I do not presume to tell you how you should react or insist that you agree with the decisions and changes occurring now and undoubtedly in the future. I am asking that you continue to be engaged and strengthen your connection with your alma mater.
Satoshi Ohtake, PhD (BS ’00)
Chair of the Board
Caltech Alumni Association