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Reunion gifts top $14.6 million

Reunion class gifts of more than $14.6 million were announced Friday, June 16, at MIT's annual Technology Day luncheon for alumni and alumnae.

The luncheon in the Howard Johnson Athletics Center was attended by more than 1,000 alumni, alumnae, family and guests, some of the more than 2,700 who participated in alumni/ae activities in the week following commencement. This year's program focused on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II (see story, page 1.)

The luncheon program was conducted by R. Gary Schweikhardt (SM in management, 1973), the 1994-95 president of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae, which has some 90,000 members in 128 countries.

Mr. Schweikhardt announced that the most senior alumnus at the luncheon was Malcolm S. "Buzz" Burroughs, 95, of Topsfield, a member of the Class of 1920, observing the 75th anniversary of his graduation. Mr. Schweikhardt also welcomed 243 members of the Cardinal and Gray Society, including the "freshmen" members of the Class of 1945. The Society is an informal association of alumni/ae who have reached their 50th reunion.

Also present, he said, were 15 international alumni and alumnae representing Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Venezuela. They included the alumnus who traveled the greatest distance, Anita Horton '75, from Bangkok.

As a highlight of the program, Mr. Schweikhardt announced that the Alumni/ae Association, in keeping with tradition, was bestowing honorary membership on individuals "whose dedication, commitment and loyalty to MIT make them truly extraordinary."

Two were at the luncheon but did not know they would receive the honor. They were Dr. Philip Morrison, Institute Professor Emeritus, and Mary L. Morrissey, director of special events and the Information Center.

The third honorary membership was bestowed on MIT's departing provost, Dr. Mark S. Wrighton, at the meeting of the MIT Corporation last week.

Mr. Schweikhardt said that Professor Morrison "has repeatedly given up weekends and evenings for Association programs and Association needs. It seems he has never used the word `no' when called upon by the Association. His long and distinguished MIT career has been marked with sustained assistance to the Association, supporting our programming and Institute development."

Ms. Morrissey, he noted, is retiring from MIT this year "after 45 years of stellar service." He said she "has played a seminal role in every Commencement and presidential inauguration for years, imparting a style and a substance to Commencement that has had an effect on every graduating class. Most would agree that she has established a wonderful tradition and brought school spirit to the ceremony while understanding MIT's importance on the world stage. She has always felt that Commencement's emphasis should be primarily for the students and their families, but has welcomed the alumni and recognized their importance at the proceedings."

Before announcing the gifts from the undergraduate reunion classes, Mr. Schweikhardt said it was "very important to recognize the significant inititiative of graduate alumni and alumnae who contributed generously to the Alumni Fund.

"The graduate alumni population is fast approaching half of MIT's total alumni population, one-third of these being international alumni," he said

Gifts for the major reunion classes were presented by Gregory K. Arenson for the 25th Reunion Class of 1970, DuWayne J. Peterson and L. Dennis Shapiro for the 40th Reunion Class of 1955, James A. Levitan for the 50th Reunion Class of 1945 and Samuel R. Spiker for the 70th Reunion Class of 1925. Of the 71 living members of the Class of 1925, eight returned to celebrate their reunion.

  • The Class of 1925 announced a gift of $1,886,800.
  • The Class of 1945 announced a gift of $4,066,000.
  • ������������������The Class of 1955 announced a gift of $3,048,000.
  • ������������������The Class of 1970 announced a gift of $865,000, with record participation by 76.5 percent of the class, and which included the establishment of a Jerome Wiesner Fund to honor the late MIT president.

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 at the luncheon by Mr. Schweikhardt included: $1,716,400 from the Class of 1930; $968,600 from the Class of 1935; $603,600 from the Class of 1940; $188,800 from the Class of 1950; $377,000 from the Class of 1960; $225,000 from the Class of 1965; $480,500 from the Class of 1975; $99,000 from the Class of 1980; $53,000 from the Class of 1985; $25,000 from the Class of 1990; and the 1995 Senior Class gift and pledge of $54,400.

It also was announced that the Alumni Fund is expected to reach the $21 million mark by June 30, the second highest amount ever.

Mr. Schweikhardt acknowledged the gifts of non-reunion class alumni/ae and MIT graduate alumni/ae to the Alumni Fund. He said 30 percent of graduate alumni/ae made contributions to MIT and their departments, resulting in a record-setting gift of $4 million. It has been estimated that by the year 2000, he said, there will be more alumni/ae with graduate degrees than undergraduate degrees.

In his response, President Vest, who was made an honorary member of the Association last year, thanked the alumni/ae for their "splendid reunion class gifts.

"This kind of sustained, generous support is essential to the vigor and excellence of MIT," he said. Such support has made the difference over the years, he said, "as MIT grew from a small technical institute in 19th century Boston to a truly world-class research university located in Cambridge." He added, "Today's program is a powerful demonstration of the difference that the faculty and graduates of MIT have made and continue to make throughout the world.

"MIT is without question the best university of its kind," President Vest said, "but the world is changing around us. And we must continue to grow, if not in size, in our ability to shape an educational and research mission that is suitable for the coming century.

"This has been an intense year as we worked to meet head-on the challenges of a changing public and federal climate, and to redesign our management organization and style. And to begin rethinking what we do, and how to do it more effectively.

"MIT's excellence has been well recognized," Dr. Vest said, citing four Nobel prizes in four years; its high rankings this year by US News and World Report in its annual survey of American universities; a "stunning" increase in student applications-nearly 8,000-and equally stunning quality, with 86 percent ranked in the top five percent of their high school classes; and an "incredible new faculty," a reference to more than 110 new faculty members hired during the last five years.

"We must continue to lead in education and research," he said. "We must work hard to keep an MIT education both affordable and excellent. We must regain the confidence of the public-not just in MIT, but in the value of knowledge and education at advanced levels to the society and to the world."

At the conclusion of the program, Mr. Schweikhardt handed the symbolic gavel of office as alumni/ae president to Karen W. Arenson. Ms. Arenson, a correspondent for The New York Times, received the SB in economics from MIT in 1970 and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard in 1972. She is the 101st Association president in 1995-96 and the third woman to serve as president.

Finally, Mr. Schweikhardt introduced the Technology Day chairman, James Stark Draper '62, and paid tribute to the members of the alumni/ae committee and others, including faculty and Alumni/ae Association staff, who had helped arrange the program.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 21, 1995.

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