Alumni World

‘After 50 years, I wanted to do something in return.’


In 1960, ir. Bob de Lange received a grant from what was then the Hoogeschoolfonds to take his degree in crystallography. Fifty years later, he decided to do something in return.

De Lange made a one-off donation to the University Fund, enough to support another graduating student in the final phase of his or her degree programme. ‘I don’t envy the students and the study climate they are faced with today’, he states. De Lange was only 16 when he completed secondary school. In 1950, he decided to study chemical technology at the Technische Hogeschool (Institute of Technology) in Delft.

For 10 years, he cycled back and forth be-tween Delft and The Hague. He referred to himself as a ‘bicycle student’ – one of many at that time. In 1960, he completed his graduation requirements with Professor W.G. Burgers. ‘I took my degree with distinction in crystallography, a subject that I had failed five times during my propedeuse’, laughs de Lange. ‘Professor Burgers applied for the grant from the Hoogeschoolfonds for me, as a source of personal financial support. I had never heard of it. He must have noticed that I was not particularly well of at that time. The grant allowed me to work less and devote more time to my studies’.

De Lange worked for TNO his entire adult life; there, he conducted research and held various management functions. He is now retired. ‘I wanted to do something in return, put something back into the Fund.

The gift is a major expenditure for me, but at that time, the grant was very much needed, and I am still grateful for it’. De Lange also does not envy the current generation of students and the study climate in which they work. ‘It wasn’t easy in my day either – to make ends meet, for example – but there was more freedom. There was no particular time pressure’. In de Lange’s opinion, a fund does not have to limit itself to enabling poor people to pursue a degree. ‘It’s a good thing that the current University Fund offers support to students in a variety of ways. They did that for me in my day, and I am happy to help them continue to do so’.

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