MBB Initiative Receives $1 M

Gift Part of Capital Campaign

The Mind/Brain/Behavior (MBB) Initiative recently received a $1 million pledge from Gordon Gund '61 and his wife Llura, as part of the University's $2.1 billion capital campaign.

"We wanted to do something for the campaign that would have impact in the near term, while also seeding a program that would eventually have support from other sources," Gund said.

This pledge marks the largest gift ever received by MBB, an initiative created to deepen understanding of how the mind and brain influence human behavior.

The initiative was created in 1991 by the University to promote a sustained dialogue among Harvard faculty and departments, bringing the neurosciences into contact with the social sciences and humanities to address pressing societal and intellectual problems.

The Gunds' gift will provide $200,000 per year to support curriculum development for the MBB's undergraduate tracks and to aid research in the field, according to President Neil L. Rudenstine.

"We have just gone into the new undergraduate tracks and we need help very much there to support the teaching and research enterprise," Rudenstine said.


Although MBB does not offer its own field of concentration, students can pursue one of four MBB "tracks" in the fields of biology, computer science, history and science or psychology.

Currently, close to 100 students are currently enrolled in one of the tracks.

The Gunds

The Gunds' gift to MBB is only the family's latest donation for the promotion of research relating to the study of the brain and the mind.

The Gund name is already associated with another Harvard research venture, the Berman-Gund lab. The laboratory is housed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Gund, who has been blind since 1970, began losing his sight in his late 20s because of a degenerative disease of the retina with no known cure. Since then, the Gunds have been active in funding research for a cure.

In 1971, they co-founded an organization, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, dedicated to seeking cures for retinal degenerations.

Gund said his loss of sight spurred his interest in the study of the mind and the brain.

"My own experience had a lot to do with MBB being intriguing for me," Gund said in a press release. "I've been fascinated with how my other senses and my memory have adjusted to the loss of sight.

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