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Jim and Marianne Rothnie

Jim and Marianne Rothnie

Colorful canvases with sun-splashed landscapes of Italy and coastal Carolina fill Jim Rothnie's home art studio. Painting is an interest this MIT alumnus is able to devote more time to since he and his wife, Marianne, retired to South Carolina in 2002. When Jim reminisces about his years at MIT, he paints a picture that is as warm and vibrant as his artwork.

"I loved being a student at MIT," said Rothnie when he recalls the excitement around learning that he found amongst his MIT peers. Jim's fond memories of MIT and his gratitude to the Institute where he earned three degrees (SB in EECS in 1970, and an SM and PhD in civil engineering in 1972) recently inspired the Rothnies to establish a $50,000 endowment for the MIT Libraries.

Jim and Marianne, who met in the third grade, were married while Jim was in graduate school. He attended MIT on an ROTC scholarship and joined the Army after completing his graduate work. Jim held positions with the Department of Defense, the Computer Corporation of America, Kendall Square Research Corporation and Data General before becoming Chief Technology Officer of EMC Corp., the world's largest data storage company, in 1995. At EMC Jim oversaw the development of innovative technologies designed to archive massive data files.

His background in data storage led to an interest in MIT Libraries' DSpace project—the digital archive created by Hewlett-Packard and the Libraries to store and preserve MIT's intellectual output. Rothnie lends his insight and expertise in this area by serving on MIT Libraries' visiting committee. He feels the challenges of digital archiving—including changing media formats and scholarly communication issues—are areas where the MIT Libraries can make a difference.

"The Libraries are at the cusp of something very important. I'd like to see MIT continue to be a leader in this area." Rothnie said. He and Marianne also feel it's important for the Libraries to provide spaces for students to study. Jim used the libraries as a quiet space for studying away from the commotion of his fraternity and feels it's important for MIT to offer welcoming environments conducive to study and learning. The Rothnies' unrestricted gift will help the Libraries to fund areas of greatest need.

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