Jim Taylor says when he was an MIT student he had little time or interest in community service. It was not until after his career and family were well established that he discovered the joy of service to others.

Now, Taylor and his wife, Gladys, of Houston, Texas, recently pledged $150,000 to MIT’s Public Service Center, which includes a matching gift from Exxon Mobil Foundation. “I hope that students will recognize the value of giving time, energy, and talents to others a lot earlier than I did,” says Taylor, who made the gift because he believes in giving back to the community that which one has been given.

“People have an obligation to return a portion of their blessings to others,” he says, adding he also believes that from whom much has been given much is expected.

Taylor earned an MIT degree in industrial management in 1965 and a master’s in management in 1967. For the past 34 years he has worked at Exxon Mobil Corporation, where he has held positions in human resources in Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, and Houston. Taylor believes that in business and in life, people make a difference.

The Public Service Center coordinates all community service volunteer opportunities for MIT and runs dozens of programs involving students in various community service agencies. By running a charity program, tutoring children, or reading to the blind, students gain leadership and communication skills and acquire a sense of social responsibility.

“Encouraging students to get away from studying to get out and make a difference in other people’s lives is a great thing to do,” says Taylor, whose volunteer work has given his own life deep meaning.

“Public service is a way of returning your talents, gifts, and blessings back to the source and helping to plant seeds for the future. It’s important to learn that lesson at an early age.”