A Siena computer science alumnus who achieved his dream of founding his own highly successful tech company is giving back to his alma mater in a very big way – and the College threw a party to celebrate.
Siena is the recipient of a $35 million gift from Das Nobel ’06 and Nipa Nobel, co-founders of the MTX Group, one of the country’s top technology consulting firms that has been credited with serving as a pioneer in digital transformation and artificial intelligence.
The December 14 announcement of their gift was teased in the days leading up to the big reveal on the Nigro Family Plaza.
“Das Nobel is a shining example of what a Siena College graduate can achieve when he or she dreams big,” said President Chris Gibson, Ph.D. “His career achievements are impressive by any standard, but it is the dedication that he and his wife, Nipa, show to MTX's employees through their people-first approach to business, and to the community through the Nobel Foundation, that illustrates what it truly means to be a Siena Saint. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity, which will transform the way Siena prepares our students for their own careers.”
The Nobels’ donation, which will fully fund the expansion of Siena’s science complex with the construction of Nobel Hall and the renovation and expansion of Roger Bacon Hall, is the largest one-time gift in Siena’s history and is one of the most substantial private donations ever made to a college or university in New York state.
“The foundation I received at Siena College enabled us to give back to my alma mater in a way that will impact new generations of leaders,” said MTX Founder and CEO Das Nobel. “I am proud to be a Siena alumnus and hope this contribution will inspire current and future students to dream big. The expansion of the College’s science complex and the building of Nobel Hall will inspire students to collaborate and make their dreams a reality, just as I did.”
A heads up for the Siena community: the name of our new building is pronounced NO-ble (as in “noble deed”) although one might be forgiven for noting that the spelling is identical to that of the international award for extraordinary achievement in one’s field. Das Nobel’s siblings were all given different last names of famous individuals who have contributed highly to society. Das was named after Nobel Prize benefactor Alfred Nobel; he pronounces the name differently.
The new Nobel Hall will feature specialized laboratories along with designated spaces for collaborative and active learning. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2022, with an intended completion date of 2024. More than 40 percent of Siena students and 11 STEM-related academic programs will benefit from an additional 40,000-square feet of space, to be located behind Roger Bacon Hall and the Morrell Science Center on the Siena campus.
Both Das Nobel and Nipa Nobel immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in their teens. Das graduated from Siena in 2006 with a B.S. in computer science and the goal to found his own company. As CEO of MTX he spearheaded the development of the Maverick Quantum (mavQ) artificial intelligence (AI) platform, which powers much of the company’s work with its partners in 35 states.
The Nobels’ dedication to developing MTX as a culture-focused, people-first organization earned them recognition as the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2021. Leading MTX’s growth as a brand, MTX Chief Brand and Culture Officer Nipa Nobel also helps guide the strategic vision of the College as a member of Siena’s Board of Trustees.
“Siena holds an incredibly special place in Das’ heart and in mine, and we are so grateful for the ability to give back to this institution,” Nipa Nobel said. “Siena has had such a positive impact on our family and on the communities where its alumni work and live. Das and I fully support Siena’s approach to creating future leaders, whose education is steeped in a commitment to serving others and in the liberal arts.”
The Nobel Foundation will be instrumental in supporting the MTX and Nobel pledge program.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MTX served an integral role in providing emergency response solutions for clients across the country, including developing the vaccine management platform for three of the country's biggest cities — New York, Chicago, and Houston.
Representatives attending the December 14 announcement included NYS Deputy Secretary for Education Daniel Fuller, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, NYS Assemblyman Phil Steck, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, and Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, and many of Siena’s trustees.
Kate Frisch ’22 represented Siena’s students at the announcement, thanking the Nobels – and the Siena faculty.
“The students and I are thankful for Siena and its professors for supporting us in every way possible to achieve our personal and career goals, as they did for Das Nobel,” said Frisch. “Without the faculty and resources here at Siena, I would have not realized my passion for computer science. Now, with this generous donation from the Nobels, future Siena students will be able to find their passions within the ever-growing and evolving STEM fields.”
She presented the Nobels with a scale 3-D model of the new campus building that will bear their family name.
“We hope that in Texas you can display this miniature version of Nobel Hall while the real Nobel Hall is being built here in Loudonville,” she said. “On behalf of my classmates, thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do for Siena College.”
While the generous gift from the Nobels is a significant benefit to the entire College, the computer science department took special pride in the announcement, as Das Nobel’s bachelor’s degree is in this major. He counts Eric Breimer, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, and Jim Matthews, M.S., professor of computer science, among his instructors and mentors.
“While it is wonderful to have a former student who has achieved so much success in the field of computer science, I am most proud of Das because he is a good person who is trying to make the world a better place,” said Breimer. “He gives back to the communities around him and he creates opportunities for others to succeed without facing prejudice.”
He noted Nobel’s respect for equity and inclusion in his company and in society.
“A person's background or identity doesn't matter to Das. If someone works hard, solves problems, and helps people around them, Das welcomes them to his MTX family,” said Breimer. “It is clear to me that the success of MTX is because their founder and leader truly believes in creating equal opportunities for everyone.”
Breimer recalled Nobel as a “bright and gifted” student who juggled classes, a night-shift job and an internship to pursue his education and pay his tuition.
“Das inspires me to be a better teacher. Because of him, I understand that being a good teacher goes beyond just covering the course material. Oftentimes, your role is to help students navigate around roadblocks and to create opportunities for them to achieve success.”
Matthews added that Siena faculty are glad when their students do well in their careers, but more importantly when they are dedicated to creating a more just world.
“We are always pleased to hear that our graduates are successful in their work and in making a living,” he said. “More importantly, we are happy to hear when they tell us that their education has helped them find a path to a successful life. Obviously, Das has been incredibly successful as an entrepreneur. More importantly, he chooses a life with his wife Nipa that balances work life with family life and caring for others. It was a pleasure having Das as a student in class, but it has been even more of a pleasure being able to observe Das and Nipa grow their MTX company family and their own family.”