The MIT Corporation will recognize Alexander W. Dreyfoos '54 today by naming the auditorium atop the MIT Media Lab Complex in his honor. Dreyfoos, a renowned inventor and philanthropist, was an early advocate for the creation of the Media Lab.
"Alex has made many contributions to MIT, but we are especially grateful for his pivotal role in launching the Media Lab, and for his continued involvement," said Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab. "Alex’s voice is such an important one in helping us constantly reinvent the Lab so that it remains as relevant in 2013 as it was when it opened its doors in 1985.”
Dreyfoos, a Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation, is chairman and owner of The Dreyfoos Group, a private capital management firm. In 1963, he founded Photo Electronics Corporation, which manufactured electronic equipment for the photographic industry. An inventor with 10 U.S. and multiple foreign patents in the fields of electronics and photography, Dreyfoos has made significant technological contributions to the film industry.
He invented the Professional Video Analyzing Computer (PVAC), used by photographic labs to make high-quality color prints, and marketed worldwide by Eastman-Kodak. An earlier version, the Video Color Negative Analyzer (VCNA), is on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Dreyfoos received an Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1970 for developing a motion picture video analyzer.
Dreyfoos is proud to support MIT. "I could only attend MIT with the help of MIT's loan program," he said, "and so I am grateful to be able to support MIT in return."
Dreyfoos has a longstanding relationship with the Media Lab that goes back to 1980, when he assisted then-MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner and founding director of the Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte in their efforts to develop the new lab. He also endowed the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Professorship at the Media Lab, currently held by Pattie Maes, a professor in media arts and sciences.
Dreyfoos has left his mark on the Institute in many other ways. In 1998, he funded the construction of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Building, one of the two iconic towers that make up the Ray and Maria Stata Center. Through his decades on the MIT Corporation, he has served on the Corporation Development Committee and on the Visiting Committees for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Media Lab/Program in Media Arts and Sciences. Dreyfoos chaired the Media Lab/Program in Media Arts and Sciences for more than a decade, and is currently a member of the Media Lab’s Advisory Council. He and his wife, Renate Dreyfoos, are also ardent supporters of the arts and arts education.
Since its inception, the Media Lab has become the signature lab of MIT's culture of creativity and multidisciplinary research, innovating in the spaces where art, technology, and design intersect. In 2010, MIT opened the Media Lab extension, a six-story glass-and-metal structure, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki.