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Elizabeth A. Garvin HM heads Alumni Association

On July 1, 2003, Elizabeth A. Garvin HM officially became executive vice president and CEO of the MIT Alumni Association. Garvin was handed the reins by William J. Hecht ‘61, who had served in the role for the past 23 years.

“I inherited a nationally renowned association from Bill Hecht and the board,” says Garvin, “so I have a tremendous advantage from the outset.” Garvin, who has an MA in education from Stanford and a BA in English literature from the University of Cincinnati, points to the achievements of Hecht and his staff as a strong foundation on which to build. “Working with Bill and the staff of professionals he assembled over the years has been a great experience for me. One of the important lessons Bill always demonstrated is that alumni are the Institute’s most precious resource. They serve as our recruiters, ambassadors, and living testaments to the important work being done here. My job is to make sure we continue to nurture that great strength.”

Garvin will be the first woman to serve as executive vice president and CEO of the Alumni Association, a distinction that she downplays. “Many women are involved in leadership roles at MIT,” says Garvin. “So that aspect is really not new to the Institute. I view this as a natural evolution of my past experience with the Alumni Association.”

Garvin, who has been at MIT for over 17 years, has been director of reunion giving, director of class programs, alumni fund director, and most recently, managing director of the Alumni Association. One of the Association’s challenges going forward, says Garvin, will be communications. “Media and communication methods are rapidly changing, and alumni are busier than ever before, so keeping them informed and closely connected to MIT will be critical.”

Garvin says she has spent the past several months doing informal surveys and asking questions about the role the Association has played historically and what opportunities are available to it in the near future. “The interaction with alumni over the years has been the best preparation for the job,” she continued. “I’ve learned from them what’s vital to MIT, its world-class achievements in education, in research, and in developing great ideas and leaders for the future. It has been, and will continue to be, a great privilege to work with alumni.”

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