A Mid West investor who had a lifelong interest in mathematics and a high regard for MIT has established through a trust the Robert E. Collins Mathematics Professorship Fund in the Department of Mathematics.
The purpose of the fund is to provide faculty support in the department for a professor whose work reflects creative and innovative thinking and, eventually, to establish a chair.
"We are most appreciative of the late Mr. Collins' thoughtful and substantial gift to mathematics and to MIT," said Professor David J. Benney, head of the department. "His support is especially welcome given the current climate in which traditional sources of support are revising their priorities."
Mr. Collins, who died September 5, 1991, was not an alumnus of MIT and did not attend any other college or university. He was a very successful investor and his long interest in mathematics led him to an appreciation of the work in that field at MIT.
The department, widely considered to be among the top two or three best in the country, has 74 faculty members who teach and do research in both theoretical (pure) and applied mathematics.
The international award in mathematics (a Nobel Prize is not given in this discipline) is the Fields Medal. Only 24 have been awarded in the last 45 years and two of these have gone to members of the MIT mathematics faculty.
A version of this article appeared in the December 9, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 16).