Caltech Legacies

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Spring 2013 Issue of Techniques


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Tom Movius (BS '54) behind the wheel of the custom roadster he built.

Tom Movius (BS '54) has made it possible for students far into the future to experience what he appreciated most about Caltech—a deep immersion in learning. Before his death in 2009, Movius made a gift in his will to endow the Thomas F. Movius '54 Scholarship at Caltech. The financial assistance is now helping Movius Scholars focus on learning, freeing them from the taxing burden of working that he experienced. "He always worked—all the time—in order that he could go to Caltech," says Movius's lifelong friend Shirley Loven. Movius' work paid off: his Caltech experience helped him discover a passion for mechanical engineering and launched a distinguished career that included decades at Hughes Aircraft. "He lived and breathed being an engineer—he was engrossed in it," Loven says. Even in his spare time, Movius would work in a makeshift lab at home, using whatever materials were needed to prove a theory, and then summarizing his findings before dismantling the project and moving onto the next challenge. After his retirement, he challenged himself to master skills such as fine woodworking and prize-winning metal artwork. "Anything he wanted to do, he did, beautifully," says Loven. That includes creating a legacy at Caltech—through his bequest, he will help many of tomorrow's promising scholars develop their own passions.