A TV or film character with an MIT degree gets instant credit for smarts. That’s useful to the entertainment industry, perhaps, but just how worthy are these fictional alumni? And how do they stack up against "alumni" from peer institutions? The MIT and Cornell alumni associations have launched the first Fictional Alumni Face-Off, an elimination tournament to determine which institution produced the most notable non-existent graduate from film, TV, literature or video games.
Each week, a fake MIT alum goes head-to-head against a fabled Cornellian. Community feedback determines the winner by answering the question: Which person, if real, has the potential to offer the greatest contribution(s) to society?
The tournament started when Cornell's Alumni Association publicly mentioned a desire to get more Facebook "likes" than MIT's Alumni Association, which has the most among Ivy Plus peers. MIT responded with a blog post and social media promotion that generated nearly 300 new Facebook "likes" in a matter of days, far more than Cornell.
The friendly rivalry then extended into the tournament. A few weeks ago, MITers were encouraged via Facebook, Twitter and the Slice of MIT blog to nominate "alumni" for the competition, now in its third week.
MIT's own Lex Luthor won the first round, handily defeating Cornell's Ling Woo from "Ally McBeal." In week two, MIT's Dilbert was upset by Sideshow Mel — despite some very clever votes from the MIT community. This week, one of Cornell's most famous, Andy Bernard from "The Office," is pitted against Tobias Fünke from "Arrested Development" fame. So far, Cornell support is far outweighing MIT, but that doesn't mean Tobias can't win. The name of the game is creativity. Muster that MIT wit and entertain the judges!
New match-ups are announced each Monday; voting ends at 1 p.m. ET each Friday.
MIT has some strong competitors coming up in the weeks ahead, but there are no givens in the face-off. Vote in the comments section of the weekly blog post, on Twitter using the hashtag #MITCU, or on the Alumni Association's Facebook page.