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Remembering Dr. Lajos Piko


Dr. Piko was a former Caltech researcher and partner of Ingrid Gumpel. He was a native of Hungary and moved to the United Sates in 1960, where he joined the biology division at Caltech and met Ingrid. In 1966, he left Caltech to work for the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Sepulveda and worked there until his retirement.

Although he never interacted with the Caltech Y while he was on campus, it was a conversation with former board member, Gunilla Hastrup, that led him to the Caltech Y shortly after Ingrid died. After learning more about the Y, Dr. Piko decided to create an endowment fund in memory of Ingrid to support Y programs that benefitted international students and scholars.

This decision brought Dr. Piko back into the Caltech sphere as he participated in Y events and engaged with members of the international community. He enjoyed meeting international students and spouses who participated in Y programs but never asked for any special recognition or acknowledgement, simply the satisfaction that his gift was helping international students. As a native of Hungary, he understood the challenges that many international scholars experience as they adjust to a new country. Dr. Piko passed away on February 24th, 2021.

Dr. Piko left half of his estate to the Caltech Y’s Ingrid Gumpel Fund to ensure that the fund continues to make a significant impact for years to come. It was always his genuine desire to help students, particularly international students, postdocs, and their spouses. As with the initial establishment of the Ingrid Gumpel Fund, the Caltech Y is so grateful to Dr. Piko and deeply honored to be the beneficiary of his estate to extend the reach of the fund.

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