Sixteen classes have donated $34 million to MIT, including record gifts from classes celebrating their 25th and 30th reunions.
Brian G.R. Hughes, outgoing president of the Association of MIT Alumni and Alumnae, announced the gifts at the annual Technology Day luncheon last Saturday. In addition, he said the Alumni Fund had set a record at $29 million.
The Class of 1975, celebrating its 25th reunion, donated a record-shattering $5,056,000, with 64 percent of its members contributing. Quoting Melvin Evans, the first elected governor of the US Virgin Islands in 1970, class president Don Shobrys said, "The men and women who build the future are those who know that better things are yet to come, and that they themselves will bring them about. Their minds are illumined by the blazing sun of hope."
The Class of 1970 contributed $3,606,000 with 52 percent participation, also a record.
The Class of 1950, celebrating its 50th reunion, announced a $6,117,000 gift from 64 percent of its members. The Class of 1960 celebrated its 40th with a $4,785,000 gift from 65 percent of its members. The Class of 1940, with 62 percent participation, donated $4,195,000.
President Charles M. Vest welcomed the alumni/ae to the campus and thanked them for their contributions to the Institute, "as ambassadors to your professional communities, as supporters of our educational and research mission, and as mentors and role models to the students who come after you.
"For you, this is a chance to see old and good friends, to look back on a memorable and challenging part of your life, and to revisit the campus where you spent so many hours -- both grueling and exciting -- in the classroom, the laboratory or the library.
"Yet, because this is MIT, and because you are MIT graduates, these reunions have always been occasions to look ahead -- to renew our longstanding commitment to build a better future for ourselves, our children, and for the larger society we serve," Dr. Vest said.
Noting that MIT historically has been in the forefront of innovation, he said the Institute continues to provide leadership in information technology, biological sciences and engineering, environmental issues and entrepreneurship. He also discussed the extensive campus building program.
"None of these exciting changes that will be occurring at MIT over the next several years would be possible without the extraordinary support and generosity of you, our alumni and alumnae," he said. "The students, faculty and staff can do all the planning they want, but without you, very little would happen."
Three honorary members of the Alumni/ae Association were named: Susan H. Green, who co-chaired the Class of 1950 reunion with her husband Malcolm; Martha H. Harleman, wife of Professor Emeritus Donald R.F. Harleman of civil and environmental engineering; and Diana Tilley Strange, secretary of the Association.
The luncheon ended with Mr. Hughes presenting the gavel to Paul Rudovsky (SB 1966), who will serve as the Association's 106th president during the 2000-01 academic year.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 2000.