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Alumni Volunteer Connection

Olsiewski to be Association President 20032004

Paula J. Olsiewski, PhD ‘79, will serve as president of the Association for the year 20032004. Robert A. Muh ‘59, chair of the National Selection Committee of the Alumni Association, announced her election: “Paula will be the second graduate-degree-only alumna to serve in this position, and it is particularly gratifying to find this depth of volunteer involvement among so many graduate-degree holders. I am certain she will be an outstanding alumni leader.”

“When MIT asks,” Olsiewski says, “I try to say yes if I possibly can. I consider this position a great honor.” She served MIT previously as Alumni Fund Board chair, 19982000, and is now a member of the Corporation Development Committee. She also currently serves MIT as a member of the Corporation’s visiting committees for the chemistry department and Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology.

Noting the importance of volunteers, Olsiewski remarks, “Every person can make time to volunteer-to do something for MIT or in their communities. Volunteering for MIT is intellectually stimulating and involves me in projects that are different from my daily job. And I have met the most interesting people.”

During her year as president, Olsiewski hopes to broaden the Association’s outreach to various constituencies in the alumni body, especially graduate alumni and alumnae. Olsiewski has long been an advocate for women in science and technology. Reflecting on her involvement with the chemistry department visiting committee, Olsiewski says, “When I came onto the visiting committee, there were two women on the chemistry faculty. Now there are five. I don’t take credit for that, but having women at the table does change the conversation.” Speaking about the nearly 50 percent of the MIT alumni body who are graduate-only alumni, she applauds the fact that “MIT has recognized that graduate students-and graduate alumni-are valuable members of the community and is providing better housing and activities that integrate graduate students into the MIT culture.”

Olsiewski has served in many capacities in the biotech and biomedical community. She directed the New York City Biotechnology Initiative, a state-funded program under the auspices of the New York Biotechnology Association, to improve the region’s ability to grow biotechnology companies by fostering relationships between academia and industry.

In her position as program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Olsiewski directs the foundation’s programs to reduce the threat of bioterrorism and improve homeland security (see “Funding the Fight,” March 2003). She serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of Asphalt Green, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health through sports and fitness, and she is a member of the annual fund board of Yale University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1975. Olsiewski recently joined the parents association at Stuyvesant High School in New York City and plans to help raise money for the school’s centennial celebration next year.

Bill Hecht ‘61, executive vice president and CEO of the Alumni Association, says, “I look forward to working again with Paula. Her leadership during her tenure as Alumni Fund Board chair, her dedication, boundless energy, and experience are extraordinary. She will be an outstanding president.”

Olsiewski is married to John H. Healey, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They have two daughters both of whom are competitive swimmers, one at the University of Notre Dame and the other at Stuyvesant High School.

Tech Reunions: Novelty and Tradition

Just as MIT is renowned for innovation, it’s also steeped in history and tradition. And so it is with Tech Reunions this year, slated for Friday, June 6, through Sunday, June 8. Driven both by a schedule change and the creativity of alumni volunteers, the weekend includes not only tried-and-true events but also the addition of a number of new ones.

Commencement exercises will be held this year on Monday instead of Friday. Members of the 25th and 50th reunion classes traditionally participate in commencement.

Because of the scheduling change, some familiar reunion events have been reconfigured. Most class reunions will begin on Friday with daytime tours and activities-including a Big Dig presentation, Haystack Observatory tour, and department receptions-and class events in the evening. A first this year is the late-night alumni a cappella jam in 10-250. The event will feature a number of alumni from various student a cappella groups.

On Saturday alumni will gather for a stimulating set of presentations at Technology Day, “Fast Times at MIT: What’s New, What’s Next-Now What?” The program runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a break for class lunches. The Tech Night Dinner, a new addition to the Saturday activities, includes the recognition of class gifts and honorary membership in the Alumni Association. By all indications, several classes are poised to announce record-breaking gifts. The day will end with Tech Night at the Pops, which is usually held on Thursday night of reunions, conducted by Keith Lockhart.

For most classes, the weekend will conclude on Sunday. Early risers can join the reunion row on the Charles, now in its seventh year. Later that day, reunion classes (as well as families, friends, and innocent bystanders) will be pitted against each other in a hilarious set of contests in the Tech Challenge Games.

Alumni reunion planners have added their own unique events to the mix too. R. Robert Wickham ‘93 and Sherk Chung ‘93 have been working with director of athletics, Candace Royer, to coordinate an inaugural alumni indoor-soccer tournament to be held on Friday afternoon. The event will include the Classes of 1993, 1998, and the newest alumni, the graduating Class of 2003. They are also planning walking tours of campus art, campus construction, and historic Fenway Park with the Class of 1998.

The Class of 1953 will enjoy a Sunday brunch at the new Simmons Hall dormitory as members honor their classmate and the building’s namesake, Dick Simmons ‘53. Under the leadership of reunion chair Bill Haberman ‘53, that class has also planned an excursion to Salem, MA, where events will include a schooner trip and a sneak peek at the addition to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Finally, David Brown ‘78 and other reunion volunteers are sponsoring a class symposium on Friday afternoon to reflect on their age and stage in life as they celebrate their 25th reunion milestone. Classmates will participate in an interactive discussion on the theme of transitions. Afterward, they’ll sample a smorgasbord of the finest food Boston restaurants have to offer at their Best of Boston Buffet.

Alumni of all classes are invited to attend Tech Reunions. If you can make it for only one day, plan to come back Saturday, June 7, for Technology Day, capped off by an exclusive performance at Tech Night at the Pops.

To view all the activities, visit the Tech Reunions Web site at While you’re there, you can see who else plans to attend and register online before the May 16 deadline.

Members of the Class of 1962 celebrated their 40th reunion at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge last June.

Board of Directors 20032004

The following alumni will be serving as members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for the year beginning July 1, 2003, and ending in the year indicated.

2005 Paula J. Olsiewski, CM ‘79

2004 Rafael L. Bras ‘72
2004 Sandra W. Morgan, GM ‘83
2005 Robert L. Blumberg ‘64
2005 Robert V. Ferrara ‘67

District One
2004 Jonathan M. Goldstein ‘83
District Two
2004 Cynthia H. Skier ‘74
District Three
2004 William L. Maini ‘51
District Four
2004 Kenneth Wang ‘71
District Five
2004 Marc J. Chelemer ‘81
District Six
2005 Allen C. Schell ‘55
District Seven
2005 Jeffrey Weissman ‘69
District Eight
2005 David A. Dobos ‘77
District Nine
2005 Thomas C. Gooch ‘77
District Ten
2005 Mark Y.D. Wang ‘87
District Eleven
2004 John D. Chisholm ‘76

2004 Annalisa L. Weigel ‘94
2005 R. Robert Wickham ‘93

Chair, Alumni Fund Board
2004 Scott Marks ‘68
Chair, Enterprise Forum Board
2004 Matt Haggerty ‘83, SM ‘86
Chair, Audit and Budget Committee
2004 Ken Wang ‘71

2005 James A. Lash ‘66
2004 L. Robert Johnson ‘63
To be determined

Alumni Activities Calendar

The second season of Young Alumni Seminars concludes in Boston on April 24 with a panel of alumni who will discuss and share their insights about career management.

A number of activities occur on campus June 5 through June 8 around commencement and reunions, including an impressive lineup of speakers and topics at the Technology Day program titled “Fast Times at MIT: What’s New, What’s Next-Now What?” This June alumni will enjoy a wide range of presentations from faculty about their current research, prospects for the future, and ethical dilemmas in their field. Five faculty members-one from each of MIT’s five schools-will participate in this thought-provoking program.

If you are coming back to the Institute to celebrate your reunion, check your class’s Web site for specific details. Many classes are holding additional reunion activities.

For information on all these events and other alumni listings, as well as links to other calendars, visit the Alumni Association Events Calendar at

Apr. 24 Young Alumni Seminar Series, Boston
May 3 Club of New Mexico 50th Anniversary Event
May 6 Chevron Corporate Alumni Event, San Ramon, CA
May 12-16 Graduate Alumni Event Northern California
May 16-21 Alumni Travel Program Manhattan Project
May 23 EECS 100th Anniversary Celebration
June 5-8 Tech Reunions
June 5 Enterprise Forum Satellite Series Broadcast
June 7 Technology Day
June 7 Tech Night at the Pops
June 9 Commencement
June 21-July 5 Alumni Travel Family Program, China: Great Wall, Giant Pandas, and Guilin
July 11-19 Alumni Travel Program Cornwall, England
Sept. 19-20 Alumni Leadership Conference

Connect with Current MIT Students

Alumni are urged to join the Institute Career Assistance Network (ICAN), which is sponsored and run by the Alumni Association. The network can be a very valuable tool for current MIT students who are seeking career advice, looking for summer internships, or trying to create a network of contacts for future career management.

ICAN is a Web-searchable database of alumni who volunteer their time as career advisors. Alumni sign up online as career advisors and create their own personal profiles that describe their professional interests, current job duties, past experience, and ways in which they’d like to be in contact with current students and other alumni.

“ICAN is a great career-management resource for alumni and students alike,” says Christine Tempesta, director of alumni clubs and career services at the MIT Alumni Association. “There are more than 2,500 career advisors on the system, and the search tools make it possible to pinpoint someone who has precisely the right background and knowledge to assist you.” Tempesta adds that “of those 2,500 career advisors, only some 800 have made their profiles visible to current students. “We need to continue to recruit more alumni to participate in the network and offer advice, internships, and other contact to current students. We also need to enhance the student body’s understanding of the value of connecting with alumni and show how those connections can make a valuable impact on students’ futures.”

Alumni and students who have used ICAN successfully have great stories to share. “I think that the alumni career advisors will help me make more informed decisions about my career path,” says one current undergraduate student. An alumnus who has used the network says that he has “got two to four job leads so far from talking with ICAN volunteers. They seem genuinely interested in helping me since I was recently laid off.”

ICAN career advisors get something from the experience too. “Through the program, I’ve hosted student interns,” says Bruce Anderson ‘69. “I not only get their actual professional contributions to my company, but also the satisfaction of working with and helping awesome MIT students.”

Alumni are encouraged to join the Institute Career Assistance Network as career advisors by clicking on “Sign up,” a link that may be found at “This is a great, easy way to give back to MIT,” says Tempesta. “Advice volunteers offer might provide a fellow alumnus or student significant support, and now more than ever, we must nurture the network effect as an ongoing investment in the future.”

Student Volunteer Phonathons

The MIT Alumni Association has held student volunteer phonathons since 1979 to provide current MIT students the opportunity to call undergraduate alumni from their athletic team or student group. Graduate alumni are called by graduate students in the fall as part of academic-department phonathons sponsored by the Alumni Association.

The purpose of the annual phonathons that are held in February, is to provide alumni and students with an opportunity to discuss current happenings at MIT and to fund-raise for the Institute. Student volunteer callers who participate are encouraged to ask for support for their groups as well as MIT.

This year, the student volunteer phonathons were held on 14 evenings in February. Four hundred twenty-seven students volunteered from 34 athletic teams, eight fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, and 10 student groups. They reached out to 4,087 alumni and raised more than $104,000 in credit card gifts and specified pledges.

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