“I’m very concerned about the planet. We’re damaging the oceans and atmosphere and are slowly but surely destroying many of the ecosystems on which we depend,” says Larry Linden, who has long been interested in the life of the earth.
Recently he gave MIT $1 million to establish the Lawrence H. Linden Fund to support graduate fellowships in the Earth System Initiative, an interdisciplinary research program whose goal is to understand how to protect the delicate balance of the earth system.
“Right now, humankind is literally out of control,” he says. “We have to reach a balance with every part of the planet by the end of the century, or we won’t be able to successfully live on the earth. We need more graduate fellows to help us do that.”
Linden earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton in 1968 and a master’s from MIT in mechanical engineering in 1970; next, he served as an Air Force officer assigned to the Pentagon, then returned to MIT to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1976.
Later, he worked on the senior staff at the White House. And for nine years he worked at McKinsey & Company, a top management consulting firm, where he was a partner and leader of the technology management practice. In 1992, he joined Goldman Sachs as a partner in charge of information technology.
Five years ago, Linden decided to turn more of his attention toward the earth, and now he works mostly on environmental issues and at Goldman Sachs part-time. He says it was after his children were born that he decided to do work beyond Wall Street.
“Kids really make you look at the future in a different way,” he says. “I realized we really have an obligation to create a healthy planet for our children.”