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MIT Technology Review

Take Me Back to Tech

Reunions exceed alumni expectations

September 8, 2006

When Richard Greischar ‘66, SM ‘68, EE ‘69, attended his 40th reunion in June, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He had never been to reunions before but figured that at least he’d get to eat lobster at the class dinner–a real treat for the Oak Park, IL, electrical engineer, who first tried it as a student. The lobster was delicious, and he was pleasantly surprised to see how friendly people were–including classmates he didn’t know–and how the campus has evolved. “It drew me a lot closer to the Institute,” Greischar says. Now he looks forward to returning again–perhaps with his wife, who didn’t attend in June (“She was afraid of too much Techiness,” Greischar admits).

Walter Frey ‘56 greets Tom Hoffman ‘56 at the 50th-reunion pre-pops dinner. (Credit: Justin A. Knight)

Lisa Klein Goodwin ‘81 knows something about spousal trepidation: her husband was dreading her 20th reunion five years ago, the first one he attended. But the dread was misplaced. “We had such a good time we just decided we’re going to every reunion from now on,” she says. One of the highlights of her 25th reunion was meeting her classmates’ families. “You remember these people as they were then,” she says. “And now to see them as responsible parents raising terrific children is just spectacular.” Having pursued a nontechnical path–she’s a Lutheran minister in Normal, IL–Goodwin especially enjoyed the class symposium and Technology Day, her “MIT fix” of technology issues.

Walter Frey ‘56, a retired aeronautical engineer from Auburndale, MA, has attended almost all his reunions, but his 50th was the best one yet. For starters, he got to wear his cardinal-red jacket, the traditional garb for 50th-reunion alumni. “I’ve been waiting for it for about 40 years,” he says. He reminisced with classmates who were on his soccer team years ago, and shared a table at Tech Night at the Pops with former MIT presi­dent Howard Johnson and his wife, as well as with the widow of a classmate he’d known since freshman year. The class even took in a Red Sox game–Frey’s first venture into Fenway Park. The outgoing president of the Class of ‘56, Frey has been a class officer and educational counselor for years, and stayed in touch with his department. But he has a more personal connection to MIT: both of his children are alumni, and his granddaughter graduates in 2009. “There are ties everywhere that cause me to want to keep coming back,” he says.

For more on reunions, see Alumni Connection and Commencement Reunions by Numbers