Frank Quick, who attended MIT on a scholarship, knows firsthand that it can change a life. It is exactly why, he says, he recently gave MIT $250,000 to establish the R. Frank Quick Jr. Fund to support an undergraduate scholarship.
“If it’s helpful to young people, then I’m happy to be able to do it,” he says. “Scholarship funding is critical for keeping the highest quality students at the Institute. There are a lot of kids out there like me who didn’t have the money to pay for an MIT education.”
Quick’s parents always encouraged him to go to college. He learned to read at 4, and often he sat turning the pages of his mother’s old science books, fascinated by the drawings. Later, he grew interested in biology and physics, then engineering. In 1970, he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s from MIT in electrical engineering, and he received a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon in 1973.
After graduation, he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon, but he says: “It didn’t seem like the right direction for me.” So he set out for San Diego and a job at Burroughs Corporation, now Unisys. He worked at Oak Communications and Dynair Electronics before becoming a senior engineer in 1986 at Qualcomm, then a startup. Now he’s at Qualcomm as senior vice president of engineering of the Government Technologies Division, and he also serves on a technical advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
For an engineer, he says, integrity is crucial. “I don’t think the scholarship will directly guide someone to the path of truth and light, but I do hope that students will learn from MIT not only mathematical formulas but also that ethical values are important. If students use the scholarship to get more than a strict technical education, that’ll be wonderful.”