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AVC

Alumni Vounteer Connection

MiniReunions Make Post 50th Connections

Tech Reunions come around every five years, but many older MIT classes don’t let the fixed rotation of campus reunions stop them from getting together more frequently. Recent gatherings of the Class of 1942 and an upcoming get-together for the Class of 1940 are just a few of the “off year” reunion activities enthusiastic volunteers have convened.

Norman L. Canfield ‘42 understands the importance of the shared MIT experience, as well as the value of gathering for minireunions. He was one of 120 students who completed a nine-month course in meteorology at MIT. “The aviation arms of the Army and Navy were desperate for meteorologists,” he explains, so MIT and four other universities offered the special curriculum. The class consisted of Army Air Force cadets, Navy ensigns, and a few civilians.

Canfield and his classmates have held minireunions every two years since 1992 in cities around the United States. Minireunions rotate among host cities, where resident classmates oversee the planning. The gatherings always include an educational component, such as visits to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, MA. At a recent minireunion in Annapolis, MD, in October 2002, a classmate described his experiences with high-latitude operations in the Antarctic during World War II. The Class of 1942 is developing a minireunion at MIT in 2004.

The Class of 1940 has also had successful minireunions, including one in Naples, FL, in 1993, and one in 1998, in conjunction with the MIT on the Road program on Sanibel Island, FL. At a small gathering of classmates on Cape Cod in April 2002, classmates “indicated a desire to have a bigger reunion the following year,” says Samuel P. Card, class vice president. As a result, Card is chairing the committee that is planning another minireunion in Washington, DC, in April.

“Our group was the next-to-the-last preWorld War II graduating class, and there was a lot of energy in that particular Class of 1940,” says Card. “Many of us have kept in touch with each other informally through the years ever since graduation. Old people like to socialize with their peers, and we are old people,” he says with a laugh.

Once again, the class will piggyback its minireunion on an MIT on the Road program on biotechnology, slated for Saturday, April 12. Classmates will gather before the program for a performance of the Washington National Symphony, visit the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum, and enjoy a seafood dinner. And if Card gets his wish, “hopefully, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom when my class is there.”

National Selection Committee Polls Open

The Association will launch the National Selection Committee Web site in mid-February, putting the committee’s ballot online for the first time.  Alumni can go to the Association Web site at web.mit.edu/alum for information on how to cast their ballots, through March 31, 2003.

The February issue of the Tech Connection e-newsletter, sent to every alum for whom MIT has an e-mail address, announced the new voting procedure. Enclosed with this issue of Technology Review is a paper ballot for alumni who do not have e-mail addresses on record with MIT. To vote online, alumni need to have registered for a free Infinite Connection. To request a paper ballot, contact Bonnie Jones, manager of alumni recognition services at jonsey@mit.edu or 1-800-MIT-1865. 

Harris Weinstein ‘56 and Bob Muh ‘59, the current (20032005) and past (20002002) chairs of the National Selection Committee, appeal for alumni to vote in the following letter.

Dear Alumni:

The National Selection Committee is one of the more important committees impacting both alumni and the MIT Corporation. It is also, unintentionally, probably the best-kept secret around the Institute.

The National Selection Committee meets annually and selects the following year’s top alumni leaders. Specifically, this includes the president of the Alumni Association, the Association vice presidents, and 11 at-large district directors. The committee also nominates three members each year to serve on the MIT Corporation for a five-year term. As a result, 15 of the 45 term members of the MIT Corporation are selected by this committee. (At MIT, a Corporation member is the equivalent of a university trustee.)

The 11 members of the committee are elected at-large from each of the Association’s geographic districts for three-year terms. All alumni are entitled to vote for one candidate for each open seat. The chair of the committee is an Association past president and is appointed by the Association Board of Directors. 

This year 13 exceptional alumni nominees are vying for four open seats. Candidates have been nominated by alumni leaders in classes, clubs, and affinity groups, and by members of national boards and committees. Criteria for nomination include an in-depth understanding of the Association’s structure and purpose and demonstrated success as a volunteer leader. This year, the ballot will be going online, and we hope to see a significant increase in voter participation. This ballot gives all alumni an opportunity to influence the affairs of MIT and the Alumni Association. Please cast your ballot.
Bob Muh ‘59  
Harris Weinstein ‘56

Candidates for the 2003 National Selection Committee Elections
Greater Boston-Second District Southern California and
Southwest-10th District
Robert V. Ferrara ‘67
Kimberly-Ann Francis ‘79
Lucinda Linde ‘82
Joel M. Winnett ‘60
Bruce A. Blomstrom ‘59
David J.Weitz ‘87
Sylvia A. Zachary ‘85
Metropolitan New York-Fourth District
Northern California and
Pacific Northwest-11th District
Lisa C. Egbuono-Davis ‘79
John E. Plum ‘74
Ken K. Yu ‘88
James S. Banks ‘76
Joseph Iano ‘83
Frederick W. Lam ‘83

Alumni Activities Calendar

Each month, the online Association Events Calendar features happenings at the Institute, Association programs, deadlines, and events put on by alumni clubs, classes, and groups around the world. Volunteers are encouraged to e-mail alumcalendar@mit.edu with their events or program listings for inclusion on the calendar. As MIT alumni travel, relocate, and conduct business worldwide, the calendar is designed to provide them with a snapshot of events across the globe, not just where they live. Appropriate submissions include seminars, celebrations, and deadlines that would be of interest to the larger alumni community. Please provide Web links and contact information.

For information on the following listings, as well as links to several Institute-wide calendars, visit the calendar online at web.mit.edu/alum/.

Feb. 26 Parents Event Northern California
Feb. 27 Northern California Event Chancellor Phillip Clay
Mar. 1 MIT on the Road San Diego
Mar. 2 Parents Event Southern California
Mar. 2 Young Alumni Seminar Southern California
Mar. 4 Microsoft Corporate Alumni Event, Seattle
Mar. 7 Club of Cape Cod Seminar Nancy Hopkins
Mar. 10 Club of Boston Seminar Professor Lotte Bailyn
Mar. 11 Club of Washington Seminar Series, Tara O’Toole
Mar. 12-Apr. 2 Alumni Travel Program Rediscovering the New World
Mar. 22-23 Pan-Arab Conference Dubayy
Mar. 26-Apr. 4 Alumni Travel Program Hawaii

Graduate Alumni Make the Volunteer Connection

With graduate alumni now nearly half of the MIT alumni population, it is not surprising that rising numbers of graduate alumni are participating as alumni volunteers. From alumni club officers to student externship sponsors, the Alumni Association is beginning to tap an enthusiasm for giving back to the MIT community.

Graduate alumni have become increasingly involved in the past two years with the Institute Career Assistance Network and the Student-Alumni Externship program. Network mentors list their names in an online database and are available to other alumni for career advice and direction. Externships are student placements in the workplace of a sponsoring alumnus or alumna during the Institute’s Independent Activities Period.

“Grad alumni now represent 32 percent of our mentors, and the number is growing,” says Christine Tempesta, director of alumni clubs, alumni careers, and special constituencies. “There has been a tremendous increase in graduate alumni participation, from 13 sponsors in 2001, to 55 this past January.”

The Association’s Young Alumni Seminars have featured graduate alumni, who have appeared both as panelists and alumni hosts. Speakers have included Anthony Hoberman, SL ‘74, senior vice president
with Alliance Capital; Paula Olsiewski, PhD ‘76, program director for the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation; Jeffrey Shames, GM ‘83, chairman and CEO of Massachusetts Financial Services; David Epstein, GM ‘88, senior vice president of pricing and operations with Court TV;  Michael Nelson, PhD ‘88, director of Internet technology and strategy at IBM; and Craig Kanarick, AR ‘93, cofounder of Razorfish Studios. “We are now making a concerted effort to focus on the pool of graduate alumni in developing programs, both as an audience and as volunteer partners,” says Rosemarie Resnik, director of alumni relations and geographic programs.

A graduate alumni advisory committee was formed last summer to cultivate the opinions and expertise of graduate alumni and to be a resource for the Association staff and alumni volunteers. Eighteen alumni members, including cochairs Emmanuel Ikpo, ME ‘83, and Ellen Rizika, GM ‘98, were named to the committee. “I was looking for a way to become more involved in more than just the social side of alumni activities,” says Rizika, who was active as a student in Sloan School student government and alumni fundraising. She has also been an active participant in the graduate phonathons. “MIT offered me a great educational opportunity, and I wanted to give back.”

Ikpo, pictured at left, was honored with a Bronzed Beaver by the Alumni Association in 2002, and serves with the Club of Washington, DC.

MIT Alumni Clubs around the world depend heavily on the involvement of graduate alumni. According to Tempesta, 43 percent of club officers are graduate alumni exclusively, and many others hold both undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT. Joanna London, ME ‘99, jumped in as a volunteer at her first club meeting after she moved back to the Boston area. “I really loved my time at MIT, and I wanted to give something back,” says the current vice president of programs for the club and member of the Association’s young-alumni advisory committee. “We’ve worked to target graduate alumni for involvement, but it won’t happen overnight. There is still work to do.”

Graduate alumni volunteers often look to continue the professional and career connections they began developing with colleagues in graduate school. “I had a great experience at MIT, and so many of my colleagues and friends are from MIT, I want to remain integrated with this vibrant and stimulating community,” says Karen Donoghue, SM ‘93, who became active with the 50K Entrepreneurship Program and has expanded her involvement to the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Association. “It’s also important for me to connect with other working mothers who have created successful, balanced, and integrated lives.”

Interest in the core Association activities of social connections, career networking, and supporting the Institute remain a constant theme of all alumni involvement. “My husband and father-in-law are alumni. It’s a family thing,” says Rizika. “I feel very good about supporting MIT.”

Volunteer Opportunities for Graduate Alumni

MIT Alumni Clubs
web.mit.edu/alum/giveback/clubvolunteers/

MIT Affinty Groups
web.mit.edu/alum/connect/index.html#affinity

Alumni-Student Externship Program
web.mit.edu/alum/connect/students/externships/index.html

Institute Career Assistance Network
web.mit.edu/alum/career/ican

MIT 50K Entrepreneurship Program
50k.mit.edu

Volunteer Opportunities Bulletin Board
ans.mit.edu/volunteer_jobs/ListJob.dyn

What’s New On the Web: Spam

Many users of the Infinite Connection’s E-mail Forwarding for Life have noticed an increase in the amount of unsolicited e-mail, or spam, coming to their alum.mit.edu addresses.

Please be assured that the Alumni Association is not responsible for spam. The MIT Alumni Association uses your e-mail only for official MIT business, and your e-mail address is not public information unless you make it such. MIT takes its responsibility to protect your privacy very seriously.

The growth in spam has been exponential. By the end of 2002, spam accounted for 38 percent of all e-mail traffic, up from 8 percent only a year earlier. This inundation of unwanted e-mail results in huge losses of employee productivity, the slowing of Internet traffic, as well as large amounts of wasted disk-drive and server space, and the waste of other information technology resources.

The European Community and 26 U.S. states have enacted various kinds of antispam legislation. Massachusetts seems likely to join them. It may be too early to judge whether or not legislation is an effective solution, and there are those who argue that such laws could, in fact, create more spam. John Mozena of the Coalition against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail told the Boston Globe that “if spam regulations weed out the worst possible offenders, legitimate business could decide that spamming is now respectable and launch a new tidal wave of e-mail ads.”

Several kinds of spam-filtering solutions are now in use by most major Internet service providers. Many already use real-time blacklists that are maintained and updated by groups such as the United Kingdom’s Spamhaus. In addition, increasing numbers of service providers are employing logic-based server-side filters created by companies such as Brightmail. Typically, these approaches monitor and profile current e-mail scams, alerting business subscribers so that the companies or their service providers can filter them before they reach end users. Brightmail claims to catch more than 90 percent of spam, but according to a recent Newsweek article, “watchdog groups think the number is closer to half.”

Spam is the leading complaint from most Internet customers, and many service providers are heavily promoting their antispam efforts. However, as Spamhaus and others who compile blacklists point out, service providers themselves are sources of junk e-mail, unknowingly or even knowingly providing support for stealth-mailing services. Some prestigious Internet domains have, as a result, ended up on blacklists.

Open Source advocates and Perl aficionados are utilizing several antispam solutions, including rule-based filters such as the highly-regarded SpamAssassin and SpamSheild and a distributed system called Vipu’s Razor, or SpamNet. The heated debate among proponents of such solutions and their detractors continues-like spam- unabated.

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