The MIT Quarter Century Club (QCC), comprised of faculty members and staff with 25 years of employment with the Institute, welcomed 83 new members this fiscal year. The new inductees were invited to attend an induction luncheon on March 12 at the Samberg Conference Center. This year’s class includes 68 inductees from the Cambridge campus, 14 from Lincoln Laboratory, and one from Haystack Observatory. In addition, the club recognized 22 members who mark their 50-year anniversary with MIT this fiscal year.
QCC President Yvonne L. Gittens, along with the club’s board of directors, hosted the event. Also welcoming inductees were fellow QCC member Eric D. Evans, director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Lorraine A. Goffe, MIT vice president for human resources. The luncheon’s keynote speaker was Philip S. Khoury, associate provost and Ford International Professor of History.
In his remarks, Khoury talked about his own experience working at MIT since 1981, and how much he benefitted from mentors who guided him as he took on responsibilities for which he had not been trained — as dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and associate provost. He noted that the 83 new inductees represent 2,075 years of accumulated work and wisdom — and enduring friendships. He also highlighted MIT’s uniqueness — the meritocracy of admissions at MIT and the commitment to enable any admitted student to afford an MIT education. He pointed out striking changes at MIT during the 25-year period that inductees have worked at the Institute, including demographic changes of the student body, in particular a marked increase in the number of women; the decline in support from the U.S. government and the increased need for private support; and MIT’s reputation, along with Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford universities as one of the top institutes of higher education in the country and the world. Khoury went on to discuss a subject near and dear to his heart, MIT’s outstanding public art collection and architecture. In closing, Khoury underscored the value of diversity and inclusion to empower MIT to solve the world’s most challenging problems. He called on members of the MIT community to make efforts to understand those who are different to appreciate others better.
Lorraine Goffe concluded the program by recognizing MIT’s distinction for its large number of long-serving faculty and staff, as long service has become increasingly uncommon in the greater workplace. Goffe stated that employees’ dedication to MIT can be attributed to a strong connection to MIT’s mission; opportunities for professional development (with the support of managers, mentors, and colleagues); and sustaining close work friendships. She commented that MIT is a vibrant institution due in large part to the richness of the MIT community. The commitment of long-serving employees is also a significant benefit to MIT, Goffe stated. She further conveyed, and closed by conveying the Institute’s appreciation to the new inductees — as well as the 50-year members — for their loyalty and contributions.
Following the induction, new member David Barber, senior emergency management specialist with the MIT Police, shared these thoughts about celebrating 25 years at MIT: “When I first started at MIT, I heard about the Quarter Century Club and I thought that it was a great concept. At the time I had no idea that I would manage to have a career that would last that long. As time went by and I fell in love with the MIT community and my evolving work here, I began to hope that I would be able to join the QCC someday. Now that I have made the transition and have been at MIT for 25-plus years, I can say without a doubt that MIT is in my opinion the best organization, the greatest community, and the home of some of my fondest memories. I can’t imagine my life without MIT and I thank the Quarter Century Club for all the great work they do recognizing longevity in the workforce.”
New members who aspire to reach their 50-year milestone may look to Nancy Alusow, an administrative staff member in the Space and Technology Division at Lincoln Laboratory, for inspiration. “Looking back, I have gained 50 years of long-lasting knowledge; completed my engineering degrees through the tuition assistance plan; experienced the excitement at MIT Lincoln Labaoratory in Contracts, Kwajalein Marshall Islands, and Space and Technology, and I am still in awe of the diversified skills of the MIT community.”
The Quarter Century Club was formed by a union of two organizations: the Silver Club, founded in 1946, for female faculty and staff; and the Quarter Century Club, founded in 1950, by a group of men from among the hourly personnel. In 1970, membership of the QCC expanded to include faculty and all staff. Finally, in 1974, the clubs were merged into one Quarter Century Club to encompass the entire Institute community. Today, the club is comprised of 4,376 active and retired members; 195 members have served the Institute for more than 50 years.
The club awards a recognition gift to new inductees. Traditional gifts include an MIT rocker or chair, an MIT watch, and an MIT clock. This year, the QCC club added two new options: a glass bowl handcrafted by the MIT Glass Lab, and a brass door knocker in the shape of a beaver head created by the Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Lab at MIT.
The club holds an annual summer gathering, the Silver Club tea, and a winter holiday party. A special resource available to retired QCC members is the William R. Dickson (1956) Quarter Century Club Retiree Fund. Established in 1998 to honor Bill Dickson when he retired as executive vice president of MIT, this fund provides financial subsidies for grants to retired QCC members who take classes in pursuit of educational, hobby, health, wellness, and fitness goals.