University of Cambridge announces gift of $52.6 Million from the estate of Ray Dolby, whose creation of Dolby Sound revolutionized movies and music worldwide

The gift to Pembroke College underscores his devotion to the University, where he gained the education that led to creation of the legendary San Francisco-based Dolby Laboratories

Dec 03, 2015, 09:00 ET from University of Cambridge

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Cambridge announced today the gift of $52.6 million from the estate of Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories and its world-renowned Dolby Noise Reduction, Dolby Surround, and successor audio signal processing technologies, which have revolutionized the audio quality of music, motion pictures, and television worldwide. The gift to Pembroke College is the largest gift to a Cambridge College in modern times and will make possible the "Ray and Dagmar Dolby Court." The gift is also the largest single gift so far in the £2 billion fundraising campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge announced in October.

Ray Dolby, who was born in 1933 and died in 2013, received his PhD from Cambridge in 1961 as a Marshall Scholar and was a graduate student and Research Fellow at Pembroke College. It was in Cambridge that he met his future wife Dagmar and studied at the University's world-renowned Cavendish Laboratory of Physics. In 1965, he founded Dolby Laboratories in London and invented the Dolby System, an analog audio encoding system that forever improved the quality of recorded sound. He moved the company in 1976 to San Francisco, where it has been headquartered ever since and where it unveiled in September of this year a new 16-story headquarters building.

Dagmar Dolby said: "The University of Cambridge played a pivotal role in Ray's life, both personally and professionally. At Cambridge, he gained the formative education and insights that contributed greatly to his lifelong groundbreaking creativity, and we also began a wonderful lifetime together there."

The University of Cambridge will celebrate the gift with Dagmar Dolby at a private event this evening for Cambridge alumni and friends in San Francisco.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Leszek Borysiewicz, said: "Ray Dolby's bequest is an eloquent statement of his devotion to the University and all that it meant to him. This gift will create a spectacular setting in which future students will benefit from the University's education and begin to make their own mark in the world of innovation, as Ray did with such notable impact."

The Master of Pembroke College, Chris Smith, said: "Pembroke is extraordinarily grateful to Ray and Dagmar Dolby for their generous support for the College's expansion and all that it will mean to future generations. As our students receive their own formative educations and contemplate the world before them, they could be in no more appropriate setting than the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Court."

The University's current fundraising campaign will focus on Cambridge's impact on the world and will feed into the dynamic environment of the Cambridge technology cluster, helping to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. More than $888 million has already been raised, including this gift, and 30,000 donors have already given to the campaign. Other notable gifts by Americans – announced previously – include the following: $27 million by Bill and Weslie Janeway for the Faculty of Economics and Pembroke College; and, $25 million by Jamie Walters and Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian for Queens' College and the Faculty of Economics. Dr. El-Erian is Co-Chair of the campaign.

Since its founding in 1209, the University of Cambridge has played a legendary role in scientific innovation with such household names among its storied faculty and alumni as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin, John Maynard Keynes, Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin, Alan Turing, Jane Goodall, and Stephen Hawking, among many others.

The University of Cambridge's longstanding role as a catalyst for scientific innovation has fueled its close links to the nearby high-tech business cluster known as Silicon Fen – as well as to the San Francisco area and Silicon Valley, as Ray Dolby's legacy so clearly demonstrates.


SOURCE University of Cambridge