His friends and colleagues of more than 40 years at MIT will toast Glenn P. Strehle at a reception tomorrow afternoon as he steps down after 23 years as MIT's treasurer. The MIT community reception will be held from 4-6pm at Walker Memorial.
Mr. Strehle will continue part-time as treasurer emeritus and advisor to the chairman and president, helping the Institute in the transition to his successor, Deputy Treasurer Allan S. Bufferd, providing support and advice on financial operations and fund raising, and working with the Center for Advanced Educational Services on its technology-enhanced initiatives.
It's been a long journey from his home town of Scotia, NY, near Schenectady, where his father worked at General Electric and he attended Mount Pleasant High School, a technical school in Schenectady.
"This was the '50s, when you aspired to be a captain of large industry," he said, explaining his decision to major in management at MIT. Besides studying, he managed the track and cross-country teams, reported on MIT athletics for the Boston Globe and the Associated Press, and volunteered for the Red Cross. Spending about 25 hours a week on extracurricular activities, he was awarded the Karl Taylor Compton Prize for service to the MIT community in his senior year.
After graduation, his first job was in sales for Proctor & Gamble, but he then returned to MIT to get his master's degree in management, racing through the program in a single year while holding a variety of jobs to support himself, including a half-time job in the Student Financial Aid Office.
He stayed on in that office to fulfill an agreement on his graduate fellowship, and then became assistant to the director of athletics. He served as director of sports publicity and publicized the 15-game winning streak of the 1962 MIT basketball team, which included future MIT donors David and William Koch, both of the Class of 1962. David Koch broke all MIT scoring records that year.
Mr. Strehle moved on to the Boston investment firm of Colonial Management in 1962, but stayed active at MIT as president of the MIT Club of Boston and vice president of the Alumni Association. At Colonial, he wound up helping manage MIT's endowment, becoming head of the company's investment advisory division and being elected to head the Boston Security Analysts Society.
In 1975, MIT Chairman Howard Johnson invited Mr. Strehle to join the administration as treasurer. The opportunity to put his knowledge of investments to work on behalf of MIT was appealing, Mr. Strehle said. "At the end of the day in the securities business, you don't get a wonderful feeling that you have helped people, and I wanted to use my skill set in the university."
He became the architect and motivator of MIT's five-year Campaign for the Future, which concluded triumphantly in 1992, having surpassed its $550 million fundraising goal by more than $150 million.
"One thing that has given me particular satisfaction is having acquired enough understanding of the principles and views of Nobel Prize-winning MIT economists Paul Samuelson and Franco Modigliani to apply them in the overall management of the Institute's assets. Those great leaders indeed have insights that have benefited the Institute," he said.
Besides overseeing years of steady growth in the endowment to $3.7 billion (to 12 times the market value since his arrival), MIT's chief fiscal officer looks back with pride on his involvement in developing University Park, a 27-acre mixed-use commercial and residential development that will serve permanently as a quantifiable goal, successfully met.
"Glenn Strehle, as the Institute's treasurer, has been the principal steward of MIT's financial assets, with a responsibility for assuring our long-term strength," said President Charles Vest. "Glenn has succeeded admirably in this regard. Unlike most university financial officers, he has frequently turned to faculty experts such as Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson when establishing the principles underpinning our investment strategies. The resultant approach has been dynamic, yet has bypassed overindulgence in investment fads. Consequently, we have enjoyed long-term success on both a relative and absolute basis.
"Glenn is deeply knowledgeable and accomplished in the complexities of deferred giving, bequests and trusts. He and his colleague Frank McGrory [associate treasurer and director of capital gifts] are nationally respected for their expertise and ability to work with donors to build mutually beneficial vehicles for such deferred giving. We and future generations of MIT folks will benefit greatly from this," Dr. Vest said.
"We now have moved into a period in which more of our financial assets can be deployed. Glenn has been a key player in designing our new financial plan and gaining its acceptance by key committees of the MIT Corporation, our trustees. He also will remain, for a period, as a valued counsellor to the chairman of the Corporation and the president.
"Glenn is defined by service and stewardship. He is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-per-year MIT loyalist and leader. We have been extremely fortunate to have had his services," Dr. Vest said.
Kathie Strehle, Glenn's wife of 35 years and former chair of the Weston School Board, has been a key partner in MIT fundraising activities. She has served as an ambassador for MIT with trustees, alumni/ae and friends throughout the country and the world.
And, as he steps down this month as MIT's treasurer, Mr. Strehle looks back with satisfaction at some of the other significant aspects of his career here.
At the close of the Campaign for the Future, he commented that one of his greatest satisfactions was "watching people develop personally. We had people who came into resource development knowing very little about fundraising, and now I see them enjoying success after success."
And at the close of two decades of "service and stewardship," he focused on the strength and goodwill of the MIT community.
"The satisfaction that one receives from helping others is its own reward. There are certainly large numbers of people at MIT who always seem to be ready to help others," Mr. Strehle said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 16, 1998.