On a January day in 1957, a Hungarian immigrant who spoke no English showed up at the City College of New York to try to gain entry.
Known for its policy of admitting all academically qualified students regardless of their ability to pay, the school's admissions office let the man look at the course catalogue and note which equivalent classes he had already completed in two years at the University of Budapest. The office took the man's word for it and admitted him.
Three and a half years later, Andrew S. Grove graduated first in his class from the School of Engineering. He would go on to co-found and lead Intel Corp., one of the most successful technology companies in U.S. history.
Yesterday, Grove announced he would give a $26 million endowment to CCNY, to strengthen the engineering school and to "keep this American dream machine going."
Grove, now 69 and an adviser to senior Intel management, said it is vital to provide affordable education in science and engineering.
That way, he said, lower- and middle-income students, including immigrants, can acquire skills that will allow them to be part of a healthy middle class that is under siege by relentless globalization and pressure on real wages.
"There is a horrendous bias against encouraging and cultivating people into a career track," Grove said in an interview.