“I made this pledge because my fraternity experience meant everything to me,” says Clay Struve, who recently pledged $99,000 to MIT’s fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups and to the Independent Residence Development Fund.

“At MIT it was easy to stay in a corner with your books and a computer, but I needed more interaction. My living group rounded out the MIT experience. It was a great way to get balance, and balance was necessary, especially at MIT.”

Struve loved his fraternity, Lambda Chi. “Those memorable times led to professional networks and in many cases lifelong friendships,” he says, adding that he’s still in contact with many of his fraternity brothers via email and occasional visits.

Struve, originally from Evanston, Illinois, earned an undergraduate degree in management in 1980 from MIT Sloan, where he studied with finance greats Fischer Black and Robert Merton. After graduation, he returned to Chicago as one of the six original traders at O’Connor & Associates. About a dozen of his Lambda Chi fraternity brothers followed his lead and joined him at O’Connor, which was later bought by Swiss Bank Corporation. Struve currently runs CSS, a trading company, which he founded in 1998.

A big reason Struve chose to make this gift is because of recent changes in the MIT residence system. In 2001 all freshmen began living on campus, and the fraternities needed financial support during the transition.The Institute and many alumni worked to restructure the Independent Residence Development Fund (IRDF), and now alumni can donate to their living groups through the IRDF with the advantage that their gifts are tax deductible and qualify for class credit.

Struve says, “It’s good to know that my gift will help today’s students build the same strong bonds and lasting connections that we made when I was an undergrad.”