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Alumni Volunteer Connection
September 1, 2002

2002 Reunion Giving Smashes Last Year’s Mark

The words “record” and “breaking” were heard several times on Technology Day on June 8 as the 2002 reunion gift totals were announced, but the most important record came when Alumni Association president L. Robert Johnson ‘63 revealed that reunion giving had shattered last year’s record.

This year, the Tech Reunions 2002 classes-the 2s and 7s-generously contributed an amazing $90.9 million dollars to the collective reunion gift campaigns. That $90.9 million total, announced by Johnson at the Technology Day luncheon as part of the Tech Reunions celebrations held June 6 to 9, easily surpassed the mark of $76.29 million set just last year by the 2001 reunion campaign. This year’s record-breaking effort comes thanks to the hard work of 17 gift chairs working for 16 reunion classes.

The classes were paced by the Class of 1962, which contributed a record $41.96 million to its 40th reunion; $15.39 million from the Class of 1942’s 60th-reunion gift; and the Class of 1952, whose gift came in at $13.15 million, including the contributions of four members of the class-Ralph W. Bell, Robert H. Damon, Clifford H. Heselton and Paul A. Lux-who have each given to the Alumni Fund every year since they left the Institute as proud graduates half a century ago.

“I was surprised when I got your message.Have I really given every year since I graduated?” Lux wondered recently in a phone conversation from his home in St. Louis. “That’s great. I just always felt I ought to support the Institute because I had gotten what I thought was a very fine education. I just thought it was my responsibility to continue to support MIT.”

Collectively they make a real statement about the importance of annual giving, representing 200 years of financial support of MIT as a group. Lux returned to campus for Tech Reunions and bumped into Damon, who has not only been active in financially supporting MIT but has also been a good volunteer for the Institute, working with the MIT Clubs of St. Louis and Puget Sound and as an educational counselor.

“I guess the answer is not just why I gave when I was a young man, but why does anyone give ever? I have always admired MIT for its commitment to making available a good education to worthy people, regardless of need, and based only on need-not athletic ability or family connections,” said Damon, who lives in Sammamish, WA. “That is why I give back to MIT. And giving for me now is a habit. It is just something I do every year.”

To read more about “200 Years of Giving,” go to the Giving to MIT Web site at

Tech Reunions 2002: A Record-Breaking Success

Rainy weather could not dampen the spirits of MIT alumni who returned to campus in June for Tech Reunions 2002. Reunion goers both came back to celebrate and contributed to their reunion class gifts in record numbers.

Over 2,700 alumni and guests turned out for reunions, setting a new attendance record. The weekend included some 120 events and represented the culmination of months-and in some cases, years-of planning by over 350 volunteers. And the 5th-, 20th- and 30th-reunion classes’ efforts to recruit alumni back to campus resulted in record-breaking attendance figures for their reunion years.

On Thursday, a warm rain greeted alumni and their guests, who turned out in droves for Tech Night at the Pops and were rewarded with a rousing concert conducted by Keith Lockhart. The performance featured the MIT Concert Choir and included a broad selection of works, including Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by associate provost for the arts Alan Brody. To the delight of the audience, Lockhart conducted part of the concert with a slide rule, given to him by the Class of 1952.

Friday dawned with an unrelenting, cold rain. Still, commencement and most of the tours and activities planned for alumni went on. In keeping with tradition, the 50th-reunion class processed with the graduates (for more commencement coverage, see “2002 Reunion”).

By mid-afternoon blue skies returned, an auspicious prelude to the many class dinner events planned for the evening. While the Cardinal and Gray Society enjoyed a dinner and singalong at the Faculty Club, other classes dined in less traditional venues. The Class of 1982 gathered at the Cambridge Multi-Cultural Arts Center, and the Class of 1992 met at the Cambridge Brewing Company. Meanwhile, at the Class of 1962 dinner, class president G. Mead Wyman presented President Charles M. Vest HM with a gray vest. The reunion committee started a new tradition by outfitting the entire class with gray vests to accompany the red jackets they will wear at their 50th reunion in 2012.

After a moving memorial service Saturday morning in the MIT Chapel, the Technology Day program got under way in Kresge Auditorium. “When Worlds Collide: Science, Politics and Power in the 21st Century” examined the interplay between science, politics, education and the media (for more Technology Day coverage, see “Science outside the Lab”). The afternoon was punctuated by the Technology Day luncheon and the announcement of more record-breaking news: a total of $90.9 million was donated to the Alumni Fund by reunion classes.

Saturday evening alumni classes gathered for the Great Court Gala in Killian Court. After the Class of 1952 processed in, led by President Vest and Tim the Beaver, many alumni took to the dance floor in earnest or socialized with classmates. Class of 1992 secretary Leslie Barnett, who kept an online reunions diary during the weekend, wrote, “The gala was fun. Most of the ’92s didn’t do much dancing-just schmoozing and catching up; I think at only 10 years out, people are still pretty enmeshed in nostalgia and more than anything want to relive memories from school and find out what their friends are up to today.” (To read more of Leslie’s diary, go to

At the Reunion Row on Sunday, the Class of 1992 repeated its victory performance from its fifth reunion. Many alumni rowers came to the boathouse for the shell dedication to Stu Schmill ‘86, former coach of MIT crew. Later that morning, the Class of 1982 prevailed at the Tech Challenge Games.

Alumni can still relive and share their memories online. A slide show is available on the reunions Web site at You can record your favorite reunion memories at

Consider Volunteering for MIT

If you’ve ever volunteered at your church, children’s school or local civic association, you know the special sense of fulfillment that comes from a rewarding volunteer job. The same sense of satisfaction-and a number of other benefits-comes with an alumni volunteer position at MIT.

Nearly 7,000 alumni currently volunteer on behalf of MIT in a wide range of positions, including class officers, club officers, educational counselors and online career advisors. Volunteers contribute to the life and activity of the greater MIT community, from organizing Cardinal and Gray reunion events to interviewing candidates for freshman admission to the Institute. Whether it’s serving as webmaster for the Class of 1997 or president of the Club of Southern California, there’s a way you can get involved with the alumni community wherever you are.

The Institute benefits tremendously from the efforts of alumni volunteers, but the volunteers themselves enjoy the rewards of giving back to MIT, including making new professional and social contacts among other alumni, learning valuable new skills and reconnecting with the intellectual excitement of life at MIT. Even if you live thousands of miles away from Cambridge, there is an opportunity available near you.

The sidebar below lists three volunteer positions that are available right now. Many more job descriptions are available on the Volunteer Job Opportunities Board on the Web at Check it out now and step up to a great volunteer job with MIT.

Volunteer Job Opportunities

Reunion committee member: Alumni from classes ending in a 3 or an 8 are needed to serve on event committees and gift committees for 2003 Tech Reunions. If you want to help shape your next class reunion, see

Local club officer: The 90-plus regional MIT clubs need officers, event and outing planners, and Web and newsletter specialists. Graduate alumni are particularly encouraged to get involved. For more information, see

Online career advisor: ICAN, the Institute Career Assistance Network, needs alumni who are willing to provide one-time or ongoing career advice to other alumni and current students. It’s an excellent networking and recruiting tool. Find out more at

Alumni Activities Calendar

Fall means back to school for MIT students. It also means back to the classroom for MIT alumni, as an array of alumni events are planned that will connect alumni with the intellectual resources of the Institute and the alumni community. Many of our clubs host alumni seminars, with visits and presentations by MIT faculty. Check out for links to the club in your area. MIT On the Road begins the 2002-2003 season with a daylong seminar in Detroit. The Young Alumni Seminar series will visit New York and Chicago. The highlight of the fall calendar is the annual Alumni Leadership Conference for alumni volunteers.

For information on all these events and other listings, visit the Association calendar online at alum/explore/calendar/.

Aug. 23 - Aug. 25 Parents’ orientation
Sept. 4 First day of fall classes
Sept. 20 - Sept. 21 Alumni Leadership Conference, Cambridge
Sept. 20 - Sept. 22 BAMIT national member meeting, Cambridge
Sept. 25 - Sept. 29 Cardinal and Gray Alumni Travel Program,
Nova Scotia
Sept. 30 Club of Northern California spotlight event
Oct. 2 Young Alumni Seminar, New York City
Oct. 10 - Oct. 12 Sloan School 50th-anniversary celebration
Oct. 18 - Oct. 19 Club of Germany 10th-anniversary events
Oct. 18 - Oct. 20 Family weekend, Cambridge
Oct. 18 - Oct. 23 Alumni Travel Program, Manhattan Project,
New Mexico
Nov. 2 MIT On the Road, Detroit
Nov. 4 Young Alumni Seminar, Chicago

ALC 2002: A Focus on Community-Building

Students are not the only ones headed back to MIT this fall. Hundreds of alumni volunteers from across the country and around the globe are making plans to attend the 2002 Alumni Leadership Conference, to be held on September 21 and 22 at the Institute.

This year’s conference will focus on building community, with a full schedule of seminars, events and panel discussions available for the hundreds of volunteers who are slated to attend. “We want attendees to leave this conference with a deeper sense of connection to life here on campus, to the different pockets of alumni spread around the world and to each other as an exclusive group of volunteers,” said William Hecht ‘61, executive vice president and CEO of the Alumni Association.

The conference will begin on Friday with two workshops, one for seasoned volunteers and the other for first-time attendees. “We recognized that volunteers attend ALC with different perspectives and backgrounds,” noted Hecht. “We want to provide new attendees a fundamental understanding of the Association and the role it plays for our worldwide community of alumni volunteers.”

Alumni volunteers at the conference will have the chance to interact and connect with student leaders at a reception for students and alumni on Friday afternoon. “The composition of the student body-our alumni in training-has greatly changed in the last generation,” said Hecht. “We want our alumni leaders to connect with this diverse and talented group of future alumni.”

The conference will also offer alumni leaders a behind-the-scenes snapshot of the major physical changes on campus, with an evolving-campus presentation on Saturday from MIT president Charles M. Vest HM. President Vest will also facilitate a panel discussion of Institute leadership, which will highlight the initiatives and changes that MIT is undertaking. “The conference spotlights a tremendous array of Institute resources and inside-scoop information for our alumni volunteers that will be both personally informative as well as pertinent to their volunteer roles,” said Hecht.

Specific seminars are slated on Saturday for the major groups of alumni volunteers, including educational counselors, alumni club officers and reunion class volunteers. Club workshops will be segmented according to club size-from small to mid-sized or larger. Class workshops will include a range of panel discussions on the important components of class activities, from class finances to solicitation strategies.

Also of note will be the annual alumni awards, on Saturday, where the Association will recognize the outstanding work of alumni and spotlight significant volunteers’ accomplishments. “The MIT community extends far beyond Cambridge. These awards are just one way of recognizing the tremendous work and energy that our alumni contribute toward making such a vibrant community,” said Hecht. “The entire weekend promises to be a rewarding one.”

Visit for more information.

What’s New on the Web

Check out these new offerings on the Web:

Exploring the planet: The July/August edition of openDOOR takes you around the world as MIT students and researchers explore geologic formations, ocean flows, climate and even deep-sea archaeology. Check it out at

Robotics for home health care: Colin Angle ‘89 is cofounder of iRobot, a company dedicated to bringing robotics into our everyday lives. In the July/August “What Matters” column, he and Amanda Gruber ‘86, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, write about how robots will one day revolutionize the home health-care industry. Read more at

MIT athletics: The MIT Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation has a new Web site featuring links to varsity teams and their game schedules, intramural teams, and a roster of “Sports Shorts” news clips. See it all at

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