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Reunion class gifts total ~ $37M

Reunion class gifts of nearly $37 million were announced June 4 at MIT's annual Technology Day alumni/ae luncheon.

The luncheon in the Howard Johnson Athletics Center was attended by more than 1,150 alumni, alumnae, family and guests, some of the record 2,613 who participated in alumni/ae activities in the week following commencement. The day-long Technology Day program, titled "Riding the Wave of Innovation: The Ocean and MIT," included a celebration of the 100th anniversary of MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering.

The gift chairmen for the three major reunion classes-Steve Finn for the 25th Reunion Class of 1968, Richard Simmons for the 40th Reunion Class of 1953, Stanley Proctor for the 50th Reunion Class of 1943 and Royal Sterling for the 70th Reunion Class of 1923-presented their class gifts to MIT President Charles M. Vest during the luncheon program. Speaking for the 70th Reunion Class of 1923, Royal Sterling, class president, reminded those present that his class has set gift records at the 50th, 65th and now at the 70th reunion.

  • The Class of 1923 announced a gift of $16,303,000.
  • The Class of 1943 announced a gift of $4,002,500.
  • The Class of 1953 announced a record 40th reunion gift of $6,634,882.
  • The Class of 1968 announced a gift of $1,700,000.

The gifts of these reunion classes comprise all gifts made to MIT by members of the classes during the five-year period preceding the reunion and all pledges to be paid in the five years following the reunion.

Other reunion gifts announced by Robert A. Muh `59, president of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT, included: $2,720,764 from the Class of 1928; $3,334,222 from the Class of 1933; $239,865 from the Class of 1938; $545,421 from the Class of 1948; $184,794 from the Class of 1958; $622,900 from the Class of 1963; $136,265 from the Class of 1973; $91,484 from the Class of 1978; $36,102 from the Class of 1983; $16,750 from the Class of 1988; and the 1993 Senior Class gift and pledge, with 21 percent of the class participating, of $30,171, for an on-campus recycling program.

Mr. Muh also acknowledged the gifts of non-reunion class alumni/ae and MIT graduate alumni/ae to the Alumni Fund, which is expected to reach the $19 million mark by June 30, with gifts from an estimated 27,500 alumni/ae. Mr. Muh said almost 30 percent of graduate alumni/ae made contributions to MIT and their departments. It has been estimated that by the year 2000, he said, that there will be more alumni/ae with graduate degrees than undergraduate degrees.

In his response, President Vest told the audience that the support MIT receives from its graduates is an important factor in giving the Institute "the independence and flexibility to chart its own course."

"The men and women of MIT are a privileged lot," he said. "We have the ability not only to dream of a new and better future...we have the ability and resources to help create it."

President Vest also said that "critics in the media and the government would debunk and destroy the system of research universities that are so essential to the future."

"Do not let them," he told the graduates and their guests at the annual Technology Day luncheon. "Tell them the truth."

Dr. Vest stated that research universities are facing "tough times," and added, "We are caught between rising expectations of what we can or should do for society on the one hand, and fiscal constraints and societal uncertainties about the value of what we do, on the other."

Dr. Vest emphasized the role of undergraduate teaching and curricular innovation in his talk. He went on to say that the "essential challenge" to MIT is "to retain and extend our excellence in a period of turbulence and uncertainty.

"We do not enjoy the same undivided public belief in, and support of, science and technology," Dr. Vest said. "We must rebuild that belief and support. We do not enjoy a period of widespread economic expansion such as made many of our past accomplishments possible. We must succeed despite this.

"At this critical moment in history our nation must not falter in its commitment to maintain the support of its great research universities," he continued.

In a reference to the federal government's financial aid antitrust action against MIT, Dr. Vest said MIT would "continue our battle against the Justice Department's nonsense antitrust suit that strikes at the core of our commitment to admitting students based on quality and supporting them on the basis of their financial need."

The US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will hear oral arguments June 22 in MIT's appeal of the US District Court ruling in the case, in which the government seeks to end any discussion among universities of financial assistance to commonly admitted students.

Listing the contributions research universities can make, Dr. Vest said: "Biological research is the key to the true future of health care. Discovering the underlying principles of lean manufacturing is essential to a vibrant economy. The key to livable cities rests with the unification of design and planning-using advanced technology and an understanding of social forces. Inventing new management modes for global corporations based on instantaneous, world-wide information transfer and processing will be required for successful business practice. Continual exploration in the creative arts and frontiers of intellectual inquiry will enhance the human condition. And linkage of our research and scholarship to the `real world' will continue MIT's role as a major force for advancement in the nation and the world."

"Research, discovery, unification, invention, exploration, linkage-these are what we do here. Our critics in the media and in the government would debunk and destroy the system of research universities that are so essential to the future.

President Vest also extended special recognition to a group of Cambridge and Boston high school students and their teachers participating in the first Student Recognition Day program to be sponsored annually on Technology Day by the Association.

Each year students who have demonstrated special interest and accomplishment in science, mathematics and technology will spend Technology Day at MIT, attending the lectures, seminars and workshops.

Dr. Vest also complimented BAMIT, the Black Alumni of MIT, for its planned program the next day, also geared to young people interested in science and technology, called "Navigating Through Time: Black Explorers from Pre-Columbus Through the Space Age."

The luncheon program was conducted by Mr. Muh, the 1992-93 president of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae, which has some 90,000 members in 128 countries.

He announced that that the most senior alumnus at the luncheon was Malcolm "Buzz" Burroughs of the Class of 1920, observing the 73d anniversary of his graduation. He also welcomed 297 alumni/ae and guests of the 50th reunion Class of 1943 into the Cardinal and Gray Society.

Also present, he said, were 38 international alumni and alumnae representing 21 countries. The alumnus believed to have traveled the greatest distance was Sivavong "Eddie" Changkasiri of the Class of 1958, who is president of the MIT Club of Thailand.

In keeping with the custom of recognizing individuals who, though not alumni/ae, have shown "great dedication, commitment and loyalty to MIT and its alumni/ae," Mr. Muh announced that the Association was bestowing honorary membership on two persons--Elizabeth Jane Griffin, executive assistant to the vice president and treasurer, and Arthur C. Smith, professor of electrical engineering and Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs.

The citation for Ms. Griffin said:

"For over 30 years...Jane Griffin has been a primary contact for students, Institute administrative officers and staff, alumni, and others needing assistance in their activities or interactions with MIT...She always responds with cheerfulness and generosity of spirit, whatever the questions or assistance neded may be. Her knowledge of MIT and attention to detail are legendary, as is her sensitive discretion in giving help..."

Dean Smith's citation said:

"A long-time member of the electrical engineering faculty, Art Smith assumed the role of acting dean in 1990 [and] accepted the post permanently last year. In those years he has become a real force for undergraduates on campus, and has also accepted the post of dean for undergraduate education. Most people will agree that the dean of students is a challenging and difficult assignment. Students would like to see the dean as their advocate, but all too often the circumstances place the dean in the role of `Institute defender.' However, since Art took over as dean, the relationship between the dean's office and the student body-and...between the dean's office and the Association, especially regarding our Parents Program-have been marked by uncommon cooperation. Somehow, Art possesses the knack for making things work..."

At the conclusion of the program, Mr. Muh turned over the symbolic gavel of office as alumni/ae president to Richard A. Jacobs, who becomes the 99th Association president in1993-94.

Mr. Jacobs, who also joins the Corporation as an ex officio member, received the SB in industrial management from MIT in 1956, and an MBA from Roosevelt University in 1979. Since 1992, Mr. Jacobs has been president of his own consulting firm in Northbrook, Ill. He also serves as counsel/senior vice president of A.T. Kearney, Inc., global management consultants. In his association with A.T. Kearney, which began in 1966, Mr. Jacobs has held a number of management positions with the firm. He also has been associated with Mobil Chemical and Champion International and was a vice president of Questor Corporation.

Finally, Mr. Muh introduced the Technology Day chairman, Arthur W. Winston '54 who in turn paid tribute to the members of his committee: Henry Barg '73, Joseph Dietzgen '41, James Draper '62, Ronald Fergle '86, Anita Killian '85, James McDonough '43, May Nasrallah '93, Francis Ogilvie (ex-officio), Cordelia Price '78, Jorge Rodriguez '60 and Kenan Sahin '63.

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 36).

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