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ALC Delivers Ideas and Collaborations

 The 2004 alumni leadership Conference (ALC), held this past October at MIT, began with a surprise and seemed to grow in energy with each event. By the end of the two-day conference, attendees were more than excited about the upcoming year. Said Alumni Association CEO and executive vice president Beth Garvin, “ALC is two full days, but alumni kept the energy on high throughout.” Garvin cited the conference’s closing reception as evidence. “Many alumni stayed more than an hour after the event was supposedly over,” said Garvin. “It is simply uplifting to connect with alumni volunteers and hear their stories and experiences.”

By all accounts, ALC 2004 continued the tradition of success that ALC conferences have enjoyed for more than a decade. This year’s conference, entitled “Focused Innovation, Global Collaboration: Alumni and MIT Lead the Way,” featured a weekend of seminars, workshops, and networking events designed to allow alumni volunteers to exchange ideas and experiences and meet key members of the Institute.

The surprise of the conference came at the keynote address. With a crowd of more than 200 alumni volunteers filling Kirsch Auditorium at MIT’s new Stata Center, Dana Mead, PhD ’67, keynote speaker and chairman of the MIT Corporation, announced that a surprise speaker had arrived to make a few remarks. Mead was referring to President-elect Susan Hockfield, who had taken time to address the alumni leadership before returning to her duties as provost at Yale.

Hockfield, describing her remarks as informal, said she could not pass up an opportunity to address the alumni leadership, for she knows how alumni “form the fabric of MIT.”

Chairman Mead followed with a report on how MIT went about its search for the new president, an ideal topic for a weekend of leadership discussions. Mead cited strong collaboration between all three search committees—faculty, students, and corporation officers—and particularly stressed the unprecedented involvement of the student committee.

Saturday morning’s plenary session, led by Alumni Association president Linda C. Sharpe ’69, welcomed speakers Dick K. P. Yue ’74, associate dean of engineering; Henry Jenkins, John E. Burchard Professor of Humanities and director of the Comparative Media Studies Program; Shigeru Miyagawa, Kochi Prefecture–
John Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture; and MIT president Charles M. Vest HM.

The Alumni Awards Luncheon followed, as alumni jammed the La Sala de Puerto Rico room at the Stratton Student Center, where this year’s alumni award winners were announced.

Workshops and clinics followed the luncheon and proved to be the perfect combination of brainstorming and planning, as young alumni, veteran class and club officers, educational counselors, and Enterprise Forum chapter members shared ideas on how to enhance the overall experience of MIT alumni.

The full schedule didn’t deter alumni from attending the ALC closing reception in the Zesiger Center lobby, as an MIT student jazz band entertained a packed house and brought the productive weekend to a close.

Said Christine Tempesta, director of alumni activities, “ALC is an important conference for alumni volunteers. It’s an opportunity to share best practices and build important relationships with other alumni and Institute leaders. It’s an event we look forward to each year.”

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