For generations of MIT students, the Infinite Corridor has been more than the hallway that runs from 77 Massachusetts Avenue to Ames Street. It is the excitement of racing between classes. It is the lively conversations and laughter shared with friends and professors. It is the journey of being at MIT itself: working rigorously to realize one’s full potential. Now, with the opening of the MIT Alumni Lounge, the community of 143,000 alumni who once walked the corridor as students have a permanent home there.
The lounge’s construction began in 2020 (along with many other campus renovation projects), and although there were delays due to the pandemic, it opened this year. Its development was made possible by the philanthropic support of alumni donors and the commitment of Institute leaders to elevating the alumni presence on campus. Located at 10-100, adjacent to Lobby 10 and steps away from the entrance to Killian Court, the suite of rooms occupies the space that once welcomed prospective students as the reception area of the Admissions Office. Now it will serve as a new landmark for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors.
“The MIT campus—the Infinite Corridor, Killian Court, Kresge, the Student Center, research labs, dorms—will always hold special memories for alums as the place we spent countless hours learning and growing together,” says Annalisa Weigel ’94, ’95, SM ’00, PhD ’02, president of the MIT Alumni Association. “Now there is a place right in the heart of campus that we alumni can really call our own. A place to continue our lifelong relationship with the Institute and with the global MIT community.”
With two distinct areas, the MIT Alumni Lounge offers a range of uses for alumni returning to campus. An area with comfortable furniture serves as a setting for informal meetings or a spot to rest during campus travels. Opposite is an intimate conference space that alumni can reserve to meet with staff, students, or one another. Flexible walls also offer the option of creating one large open space for communal events. While the lounge is outfitted with cutting-edge technology, including audiovisual capabilities and a new HVAC system, the restoration of the room’s original terrazzo floor and stone border connects past to present.
An eye-catching digital display enlivens the hall across from the lounge entrance. The display wall serves to engage passersby with captivating imagery and storytelling focused on MIT’s alumni community and information about MIT Alumni Association benefits and programming.
Not only does the display reflect the alumni community, but it was also designed in partnership with members of that community: MIT spinout SosoLimited, an art and technology studio led by Eric Gunther ’00, MEng ’02, Justin Manor ’00, SM ’03, and John Rothenberg ’02, SM ’07. Founded at the Institute in 2003, the firm employs a multidisciplinary team of experts who create inventive technological solutions—from kinetic sculptures to interactive lighting displays—for organizations like Intel, Akamai, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and even MIT’s own welcome center.
The lounge begins an important new chapter in the story of the Institute’s graduates, says MIT Alumni Association CEO Whitney T. Espich, noting that alumni have helped shape MIT’s efforts to make a better world for more than 160 years.
“At MIT, our alumni help to define who we are and where we are going—from the legacy they have left behind to the impact they continue to have on the world around them,” says Espich. “This dynamic new space and its placement along the Institute’s most populous point of daily activity symbolically honors the resonance of those contributions. We are thrilled to finally be able to provide alumni a central place on campus to call home.”
The Alumni Lounge will celebrate its official opening at the 2022 Tech Reunions, May 27–29. For a full reunion schedule and to register, visit https://bit.ly/TR22-TR.
Learn how you can support the MIT Alumni Lounge’s development at giving-dev.mit.edu/alumni-lounge/.
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