Beta Theta Pi - MIT

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Beta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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BACK BAY BETA Beta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology P.O. Box 442100 Lawrence, KS 66044-2100 Address Service Requested David H. Koch '62 entered Chapter Eternal on August 23, 2019, at the age of 79, after a valiant 27-year battle against prostate cancer. David was an industrialist, philanthropist, political activist, and lifetime vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. He ran Koch Industries alongside his older brother, Charles D. Koch '57. David retired in 2018 as executive vice president at Koch Industries and ended his involvement with other Koch affiliated groups due to his failing health. Over the years, David and his family foundation, along with other recipients of Koch philanthropic support, have donated millions to battling cancer. He was a board member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and provided $100 million toward construction of the David H. Koch Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital. David also donated $100 million to the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, now known as the David H. Koch Theater, and contributed $65 million to renovate the plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His final tweet on his Twitter account announced in February that his family made a $1 million donation to the September 11 Memorial Museum. David is survived by his three brothers, Frederick (who passed February 2020), Charles '57, and William '62, his wife, Julia, and three children. helped him. And he's certainly encountered challenging periods while forging his way in the social entrepreneurship arena; however, his motivation to change the world for the better keeps pushing him forward. "Public service has always been something that's compelling to me," he shared. More than a decade and a half ago, as a freshman at MIT, he signed up to be a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; he's still matched with his Little and his family. Prior to that mentorship, Lyel thought he wanted to go into the field of education, and his experience as a Big Brother solidified his decision. After an exceedingly brief stint on Wall Street, he left to focus on education and hasn't looked back. "I'm passionate about education—I love teaching. I've taught every grade, K through grad school at this point," he shared. "I consider it a privilege to be in the classroom." His position at NYU is especially meaningful because they're trying to have more conversations about responsible technology, looking explicitly at the intersection of technology and social justice and human rights. "We're in a period with quite a bit of volatility and things are changing quickly," he said. "In that context, it's important to stay humble and to listen, in particular to people you maybe don't get the chance to interact with every day, to understand their set of experiences. Try to build empathy for it and have that help you make personal and professional decisions." Tracing back to Lyel's Beta roots at MIT, the "range of brilliance in the house was humbling" and it was "inspiring to be around people who were so passionate and talented across a wide range of interests"—an experience that undoubtedly helped shape his choice to devote himself to nonprofits and education. After almost a decade in education, largely doing technology education and economic mobility programs in underserved communities, as well as serving many nonprofit educational organizations as a board member, Lyel considers himself incredibly lucky. "All the organizations I have a board position with I believe wholeheartedly in and the changes they're trying to make," he stated. "It makes me happy to spend as much time serving those boards as I can." Prior to teaching at NYU, he already had many meaningful teaching positions under his belt: he was an education manager for the East Harlem Tutorial program; a partner/educator for HTINK, which focuses on K-12 STEAM curriculum and professional development; and a cofounder for Startup Box South Bronx, which delivers K-12 and community education in tech, entrepreneurship, and design. He also led social impact work at The Flatiron School in New York City until the political climate changed drastically in 2016. At that point, he co-founded Swayable, which measures political impact and predicts opinion-change. "We built it to have an impact on the 2018 elections and the 2020 elections. We're in a number of races—dozens," he said. "Swayable supports a number of the world's leading advocacy organizations, social and political campaigns, and brands who are trying to affect positive social change." Launching Swayable was a "wild ride," and Lyel has since transitioned to advisor, but his heart ultimately belongs to teaching and trying to make the world a better place through education. For a more detailed scope of his work, check out his website,, or his LinkedIn, You can also follow along on Twitter @lyelr. TEACHING FOR CHANGE (Continued from page 1) CHAPTER ETERNAL (Continued from page 2) f Beta Theta Pi - Massachusetts Institute of Technology House Corporation Fund: Educational Fund:

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