Arthur Samberg ’62 (XVI)

Art Samberg was born in the Bronx and lived on Sherman Avenue close enough to Yankee Stadium to solidify his total devotion to the New York baseball team. Later, in search of better schools, his parents moved the family to Tenafly, New Jersey, where Art thrived academically, eventually applying to MIT, RPI, and Lehigh. Fortunately for all of us, Art chose MIT.

“I never understood how my father was able to save up enough money to send me to college, but since he scrimped and saved for me to get the education he never had the opportunity to pursue, there was no question that I would go to the best place possible. I was nowhere near the top of the class but I just persevered. I knew people who left, but after all my father had sacrificed I was determined to matriculate. And I met fantastic people who have been lasting lifelong friends.”

Samberg met his wife Becky when they were both at Stanford getting master’s degrees. He then went to work at Lockheed Martin where they encouraged (and paid) for him to get an advanced engineering degree. But after two years, Samberg decided engineering was not quite the right fit so he came back East and got his MBA at Columbia Business School and then set out for Wall Street. His 45-year career in finance has been both fulfilling and successful, and attributing much of his success to MIT, the Sambergs recently pledged $2.5 million to help renovate Building 2, home of MIT’s Mathematics Department.

“I never understood how my father was able to save up enough money to send me to college, but since he scrimped and saved for me to get the education he never had the opportunity to pursue, there was no question that I would go to the best place possible. I was nowhere near the top of the class but I just persevered. I knew people who left, but after all my father had sacrificed I was determined to matriculate. And I met fantastic people who have been lasting lifelong friends.”

As a member of the MIT Corporation, Samberg serves on a number of visiting committees, including mathematics. But what really encouraged the Sambergs to support math at MIT was the realization that mathematics has truly changed the financial industry. Samberg says, “There may have been a time when math was a pure discipline but today mathematics has taken a new role in cyber security, in finance. It just affects many more aspects of our economy, and its impact on society is more directly felt.”

Besides, Samberg cares deeply about MIT. Given that the Bosworth Buildings 1-10 are about to be 100 years old, the Sambergs feel pleased they can help keep MIT strong and competitive. “MIT is the ultimate meritocracy. I have a tremendous appreciation for what this place can do.” Furthermore, according to Samberg, “It’s important to provide opportunities and then see what happens.” In addition to the Sambergs’ support of the Mathematics Department, they have been generous scholarship donors to MIT.

Their philanthropy, which involves the whole family through their foundation, binds them together. “We believe in giving kids opportunities and support health and education for disadvantaged children.” The Sambergs’ daughter, Laura, runs the foundation while Samberg and sons Jeff and Joe are actively involved in a new family partnership backing a fusion project that has completely rekindled Samberg’s love of science and technology. So no surprise that the book he just finished and highly recommends is by Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

“MIT is the ultimate meritocracy. I have a tremendous appreciation for what this place can do. It’s important to provide opportunities and then see what happens.”