Karen and Perry Ha met as MIT students and have shared many roles connected to the Institute—undergrads, scholarship recipients, college sweethearts, grad students, dedicated alumni, active volunteers, and philanthropists. Today they are parents of an MIT undergrad, and together have many reasons for giving back to MIT.
“My family immigrated to the US three years before I attended MIT,” says Perry ’85, SM ’87, who was born in Daegu, South Korea. “I was still learning the language and the culture and MIT took that into consideration when admitting me. I am thankful for the opportunity to get a great education.”
“From the start, we were interested in supporting the whole student experience,” says Karen ’85, SM ’87, who worked in the software industry, and has spent the last 10 years as an angel investor. “We support the Public Service Center (PSC) and MISTI-Korea because they provide students an opportunity to make an impact on a global level and develop their own worldview. The PSC did not exist when we attended MIT; now we can’t imagine MIT without it.”
Perry, who is managing director of Draper Athena,a venture capital firm he founded in 1997, agrees. “The student of today has a fuller, richer experience,and is more versed in non-scientific, non-engineering aspects of life, which include developing responsibility as a citizen and taking on big challenges.” Today, Karen and Perry connect with MIT alumni on the West Coast and inform them about the activities of MIT today. They are both members of the Corporation Development Committee (CDC)—the Institute’s highest level of fundraising volunteerism. “For us,” says Karen, “being involved with the CDC is a privilege. With MIT focused on solutions for water, food, and the health of the planet, we want to stay involved and support programs that send MIT students into the world where they can do the most good.”