New Alumni Association President Scott Marks Jr. has been bragging about MIT since his sophomore year. As a student in 1966, he led tours for the admissions office, and prospective students quickly came to share his enthusiasm for the Institute, he says. Today, he’s still putting that enthusiasm to work.
“MIT really did change my life,” Marks says. “I went to high school in Atlanta. One day during my junior year, my English teacher told me to apply to more schools than Georgia Tech. I hadn’t considered going out of state at all. I went ahead and applied to MIT. I was accepted but could only attend because of scholarship aid.”
Marks brings an extensive background in corporate management, marketing, and not-for-profit leadership to his new role. After a career as a financial-services executive, he is now a private investor who also serves as a trustee of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and as a board member (and past chairman) of Chicago Public Radio.
“Scott brings in-depth knowledge of MIT and a great background from both the corporate and not-for-profit worlds to his new role,” says Beth Garvin, Association executive vice president and CEO. “I have worked with Scott for many years and greatly value his perspective, counsel, and leadership. Scott is a persuasive and effective communicator who will help guide the Association to develop even more effective ways to connect alumni to alumni, and alumni to MIT.”
Marks wants to continue to improve the way the Association communicates with alumni. He would like alumni to fully understand the benefits of being connected to each other and to the Institute, from personal friendships, entrepreneurial opportunities, career advice, and public-service involvement to learning and travel programs. The MIT alumni network, he believes, is a great resource for all alumni.
As president, Marks will encourage alumni to participate in both local and campus events. Many MIT events, in fact, uncover new trends. The MIT Enterprise Forum chapter in Silicon Valley, for example, quickly recognized the phenomenon of online social networking and shared that insight with alumni through a panel discussion titled “Social Networking: Is There Really a Business Model?” More than a hundred people showed up to hear the CEOs of LinkedIn, Friendster, and Socialtext share their opinions.
In another example, the MIT Club of New York has launched a community-service group that works with New York City public schools on programs that capitalize on alumni expertise in math and science.
Many alumni use the network to find colleagues or events when they travel. The online alumni directory is also a useful resource for recent graduates moving to a new area, who may find good advice on real estate and schools through alumni. The online Institute Career Assistance Network (ICAN) offers alumni-to-alumni support in mentoring and job searches.
And how did MIT prepare Marks for his own professional career? In a word, superbly. “I learned the value of hard work,” he says. “I also learned critical thinking and problem-solving skills that could be applied time and again in the business world.” Marks’s extensive business career, which began after he earned SB and SM degrees in electrical engineering, included positions with several consulting firms before he joined American Express in 1979. He moved to First Chicago in 1983, rising to vice chairman and board member of First Chicago NBD before leaving the company in late 1997.
He began volunteering for MIT as an educational counselor in the 1970s in New York City. Since then, he has served as chair of the MIT Alumni Fund Board and as a member of the MIT Corporation, and has been a fund-raiser for MIT for more than 20 years. He’s also applied his business acumen to two vigorous negotiations of an affinity-card agreement for the Association; his participation in contract negotiations was vital to favorable outcomes for the Association.
And the Alumni Association is grateful. In 2000, Marks received the Harold E. Lobdell ‘17 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his sustained service to the Alumni Association and to MIT. In 2003, he won the Henry B. Kane ‘24 Award in recognition of exceptional service and accomplishments in fund-raising for the Alumni Association and MIT.
“MIT is a unique place,” Marks says. “I have stayed involved with MIT because I’d like the Institute to continue to serve others the way it served me.” Marks, who lives in Chicago, is married to his high-school sweetheart, Pamela Riser Marks, and has three children.
Northern California Welcomes President Hockfield
Denice D. Denton ‘82, the new chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, joined President Susan Hockfield in northern California for the president’s first regional event. More than 350 alumni, parents, and friends welcomed MIT’s 16th president at the club reception in Atherton, CA, on March 23.
Boston Gala Delivers Elegant MIT Cheer
The MIT Club of Boston hosted a gala on April 2 at the Museum of Fine Arts honoring MIT’s new president. Events included a rendition of “Oh! Susan” (sung to the tune of “Oh! Susanna”) that ended with the MIT cheer: “e to the x, dy/dx; e to the x, dx; cosine, secant, tangent, sine; three point one four one five nine! Go, Susan!” Attendees included MIT Alumni Association president Linda Sharpe ‘69 and her husband, Frank Fernandes III, Robyn Metcalfe, and Bob Metcalfe ‘68. Also John Collins and his wife, MIT club president Aliki Karipidou Collins, PhD ‘87, join President Hockfield and her husband, Thomas Byrne.
From Renaissance Trivia to Speakers from Hockfield’s Past
More than 300 MIT alumni, parents, and friends shared the Boston club’s gala evening, which included a Renaissance trivia contest reflecting Hockfield family interests, and comments by President Hockfield’s sister, University of Texas System associate vice chancellor Geri Hockfield Malandra, and Yale College dean Peter Salovey. Jorge Rodriquez ‘60, SM ‘61, ScD ‘68, left, cochaired the event with Karen Mathiasen, SM ‘71, right.
New Members Join National Selection Committee
Alumni recently elected five new members to the Alumni Association’s National Selection Committee (NSC). A record number of 6,002 alumni voted in this election, a total of 6 percent of the voting population. New members:
District #1, Boston and near suburbs: R. Robert Wickham ‘93
District #2, greater-Boston suburbs (one-year term): Matthew Haggerty ‘83
District #6, Washington, DC, Virginia, MD: William M. Layson ‘56
District #7, South and South-Atlantic Coast: Laurie Dean Baird, SM ‘92
District #8, Midwest: David A. Dobos ‘77
New members joined seven continuing NSC members at a May 21 meeting to select alumni to serve on the Association’s board of directors (president-select, vice presidents, district directors, young-alumni director) and as alumni nominees to the Corporation.
Our best illustrations of 2022
Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.
How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier
These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.
The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.