is clear from my reference to a Buffalo Springfield lyric from four decades ago, I come from what one might politely describe as an earlier generation. So I still tend to get most of my news from newspapers and magazines rather than a screen, especially a little one you can carry around in your pocket. But even in my primitive connective state, I’ve noticed that the name of MIT seems to pop up everywhere these days.
Personally, this makes me pretty giddy. Name a big subject: energy, cancer, world poverty, dark matter, bioengineering, nanotechnology, antiterrorism measures, social media–the Institute is all over it, and the world is quickly learning that much of the earliest and most exciting work is taking place at, ahem, our place.
Yet once we graduate, our relationship with MIT and all the neat stuff going on there tends to weaken fast. And since it appears that most MIT alums would love to remain engaged and MIT would love them to do so, this disconnect strikes me as being as inappropriate as it is illogical. What makes it particularly goofy is that we were students for a few years, but we get to strut around as MIT alums for life. That, as they say in the annuity business, is a hell of a deal. But losing our connection to MIT and to our fellow alumni represents a waste of potential value that impoverishes us all.
So please know that your Alumni Association is on it, investigating new ways to deepen the relationship between our alums and the Institute. Our goal is to force-multiply, making both parties more useful to each other and our alumni more useful to one another, too. Success may take a while, but now, with MIT ascendant, is a great time to start. Alumni touch every part of MIT, and we should make sure that what’s happening here is happening everywhere we can be found. You should come along for the ride.
Ken Wang ‘71
President, MIT Alumni Association