Alumi Volunteer Connection

Leadership Conference a Record-Breaking Success

Last September 20, the largest number of alumni volunteers ever  to attend an Alumni Leadership Conference gathered on campus for the two-day ALC 2002. More than 400 alumni and friends returned to campus to reconnect, learn, and be recognized for their achievements.

Highlights of the weekend included the presentation of alumni awards. The Bronze Beaver Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association, was presented this year to Alexander V. d’Arbeloff ‘49, Brit d’Arbeloff ME ‘61, Malcolm Green ‘50, Emmanuel Ikpo OE ‘83, and Ronald A. Kurtz ‘54 for their outstanding service.

Other exceptional volunteers were recognized with the Harold E. Lobdell ‘17 Distinguished Service Award for alumni relations; the Henry B. Kane ‘24 Award, for fund-raising; the George B. Morgan ‘20 Award, for Educational Council activity; and Presidential Citations, awarded to outstanding groups.

Alumni were afforded an extraordinary opportunity to hear about current issues at MIT from senior administrators. President Charles M. Vest HM presented an engaging overview of ongoing campus construction and rejuvenation; he was followed by a panel featuring Provost Robert A. Brown, Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ‘75, and Stu Schmil ‘85, director of the educational council.

The balance of the weekend was devoted to workshops and opportunities for alumni to meet and share ideas. Some 20 workshops and training sessions were offered to reflect the full spectrum of volunteers, from class officers to alumni independent-living groups. Participants learned about a variety of topics, such as philanthropy basics, membership cultivation in clubs, and event planning in nonreunion years. There was even an opportunity to develop marketing and communications strategies in a session led by John Chisholm ‘75.

“Every year I marvel at the camaraderie and learning that takes place at ALC,” says Bill Hecht ‘61, executive vice president and CEO of the Alumni Association. “We work hard to provide programs and workshops that will help our alumni in their many volunteer roles, but what is truly remarkable is how they energize each other during the weekend.”

Alumni Awards

The 2002 Alumni Association awards were presented to 25 alumni and five alumni groups at this year’s Alumni Leadership Conference in September. Winners are listed as they appear, from left to right, in the photos below.

George B. Morgan ‘20 Award
Walter C. Price Jr. ‘70
Peter A. Klock ‘65
Elisha W. Erb ‘61
Mary Ann Rivet ‘70
Richard R. Lowe MCP ‘61
Henry B. Kane ‘24 Award
Frederick D. Ezekiel ‘51
Rhonda E. Peck ‘82
Joseph Harrington III ‘61
Ernest R. Kaswell ‘39
Harold E. Lobdell ‘17 Distinguished Service Award
Jon L. Ganger ‘50
Frank J.H. Liu ‘66
Mark Y.D. Wang ‘87
Shaheen Husain GM ‘81
Michael D.D. Clarke ‘92
Cordelia M. Price ‘78
Robert W. Blake ‘41
Richard I. Bergman ‘55
Gurumurthy Kalyanaram GM ‘89
Sandra W. Morgan GM ‘83
Joseph W. Marcello ‘52
Presidential Citations
Club of South Texas 75th Anniversary Event (Alan Cisar ‘73 and Marilyn Taggi Cisar 76)
Class of 2001 Senior Gift Committee
(Satwiksai Seshasai ‘01)
Club of Northern California Spotlight MIT 2001 Event (Fred Lam ‘89)
Arab Alumni Association Pan Arab
Conferences (Shaheen Husain GM 81)
Department of Ocean Engineering 100th
Anniversary Event (Raymond McCord OE ‘81)
Bronze Beaver Award
Alexander V. d’Arbeloff ‘49
Brit d’Arbeloff ME ‘61
Malcolm Green ‘50
Emmanuel Ikpo OE ‘83
Ronald A. Kurtz ‘54

A New Director for the Educational Council

As an MIT alumnus, the new director of the MIT Educational Council has a distinct recollection of his own application-interview experience in the fall of 1981. “It was at an apartment complex out on Long Island, and the counselor’s baby was crying during the entire interview,” says Stu Schmill, ‘85. “You could say that it was just a little distracting.”

Fortunately for Schmill, who was named director in August, recent surveys show that the vast majority-more than 86 percent-of students have a “good to excellent” interview experience: a critical statistic, given that the 2,000-plus volunteer counselors represent the first impression that most incoming students have of the Institute. “I would probably have rated my interview a bit more neutral,” deadpans Schmill.

Of course, the Council that interacted with students when Schmill was applying faced a very different landscape. “Educational counselors used to be charged with educating and developing a general population of students that was less conscious of the importance of science and technology,” he notes. “Additionally, the number of applications to MIT has dramatically increased, making the role of counselors that much more important in helping the admissions office discern which students to accept.”

As a father of two, the former student, crew coach, and director of the MIT Parents Association, Schmill focuses on the personal growth and development of individual students. “The academic tools that students have here are so great, but my niche has always been the development of individual students so that they can use these tools,” says Schmill. “The high caliber of the student body is what makes MIT so special. Educational counselors perform a vital function in building this body.”

“Today’s counselor is like a psychiatrist, interviewing students, giving feedback on their personal qualities, counseling prospective students on their options, connecting on a one-to-one level, and helping students get a sense of their own lives,” he observes.

For the first few months, Schmill has made plans for extensive observation and note taking. “I’d like to think that over the coming years, we will make counselors even more satisfied with their role and effective in their job, and make the Council work better for all concerned,” he says.

The new director would be remiss not to plug the benefits of volunteering with the council. “This is a popular volunteer activity that has a direct benefit for MIT,” says Schmill. “And we’re always on the look-out for more alumni to become involved.”

For more information visit web.mit.edu/admissions/www/educoun/index.html.

Alumni Activities Calendar

A highlight of the Alumni Association calendar is the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which runs this year from January 631. In addition to on-campus activities and classes, IAP also provides time for the Externship Program. Each year, hundreds of students go into the workplace at the offices, companies, and organizations of alumni, gaining valuable hands-on experience. Alumni sponsors benefit from the energy and ideas that only an MIT student can bring to the workplace.

If you are in the Boston area, remember that all noncredit workshops and events during IAP are open to the entire MIT community of students, staff, and alumni. For more information about IAP 2003 and a full schedule of classes, check out web.mit.edu/iap/.

For information on the following events and other alumni listings, visit web.mit.edu/alum/.

Dec. 3 Club of Washington Event, Alex d’Arbeloff ‘49
Dec. 9Club of Boston Seminar Series, Professor Philip Khoury
Dec. 10Club of Washington Seminar Series, John M. Poindexte
Dec. 20-Jan. 1Alumni Travel Family Program, Serengeti Safari
Dec. 21-30Alumni Travel Family Program, Costa Rica
Dec. 30Club of Chicago, Holiday Party for Admitted Students
Jan 6-31Independent Activities Period, Student Externship Program
Jan. 14Club of Washington SeminarSeries, Charles Curtis
Jan. 27Young Alumni Seminar Series, Boston
Jan. 27-Feb. 9Alumni Travel Program, Antarctica

Tom Davis Chairs Fund Goals Committee

For Tom Davis ‘84, volunteering for MIT is an intellectually stimulating experience that takes him beyond his everyday concerns.

Davis was recently appointed chair of the Alumni Fund Board’s goals committee for fiscal year 200203. That committee is responsible for setting goals for the Alumni Fund, both for dollars contributed and number of donors. It’s a complex and much considered calculation, according to Davis, who sees the goal-setting process as an in-depth analysis of the fund and how it operates.

“By being closer to the goals and to setting the goals, I believe that I will develop a better understanding of how you actually achieve the goals,” he says. He points out that the committee must tread a fine line: setting goals that are achievable but also challenging.

Davis, who has served on the goals committee for the past two years under the leadership of Scott Marks ‘68, says the process of setting the goals amounts to a wide-ranging discussion in which the committee members consider everything from the anticipated performance of the stock market to political instabilities overseas.

“It’s a really rich and far-reaching discussion,” says Davis. “One of the most rewarding things is that it takes me completely out of my day-to-day experiences as a practicing engineer. And it puts me in a roomful of people with very different cuts on the problem.”

Davis is a supply chain engineer with Philips Medical Systems in Andover, MA, a division of Philips Electronics. His volunteer activities on behalf of MIT started in his student days when he  made fund-raising calls with his fraternity brothers from Theta Xi.

“Once a year our fraternity would troop over to the Bush Room and call our alumni on behalf of the Alumni Association,” recalls Davis. “I rather enjoyed it. It was a neat chance to talk to alumni. And, as it turned out, I had no trouble asking people for money.” Davis has held a number of volunteer positions since graduating, including class agent, reunion gift chair, and educational counselor.

Davis says it’s challenging to set goals for the fund in a time when the economy is down. Last year, the fund met its dollar goal but fell slightly short of its participation goal. “The staff really pulled out all the stops and got participation numbers very, very close to the goal,” he says. “And, while technically we didn’t hit the goal, personally I was very impressed with our ability to even come close in these tumultuous economic times.”

This year’s goals reflect concerns about the economy and about the geopolitical situation. “For the past several years, we’ve set aggressive participation goals. We’ve been very close, but we’ve pretty consistently fallen short,” says Davis. “Participation is a really vexing problem for the Fund board. We just need to keep asking, Can we do it?’”

Davis says giving back to MIT is a good reason to volunteer but that he continues to commit his time to the fund board mostly because he truly enjoys it.

“I find it really invigorating intellectually to do the work and a pleasant opportunity to spend time with a different problem but with some really engaging, top-notch people,” he says. “It’s a challenge.”

What’s New on the Web

Find out what’s new and interesting on the Web this month:

Rethinking Voting: In the November “What Matters” column, Steven Brams ‘62, a politics professor and game theory expert at New York University, makes the case for a new system of voting. According to Brams, “approval voting” could help avoid split votes between centrist candidates and reduce negative campaigning, among other benefits. Read more online at alumweb.mit.edu/whatmatters/.

History and Culture: For November/December, openDOOR looks at history and culture, in terms of academic subjects such as anthropology and history, as well as the campus culture of MIT, including student traditions and hacks. Stop by and leave a message about your own favorite campus tradition at alumweb.mit.edu/opendoor/.

Workplace Resources: The MIT Workplace Center combines research on work and family with experimental models for change in selected workplaces. Headed by work-family expert Lotte Bailyn of the Sloan School of Management, the center offers resources and a seminar series calendar on its Web site at web.mit.edu/ workplacecenter/.

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