Led by the Class of 1949's record gift of $28.2 million, 16 classes donated $61.6 million to MIT to commemorate their reunions, announced John A. Morefield, outgoing president of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae, at Saturday's Technology Day luncheon in the Johnson Athletic Center.
The Class of 1949 total includes six gifts in excess of $1 million each, including $10.6 million from Brit and Alex d'Arbeloff. The other million-dollar contributors were Ned C. Rice Jr., Jack C. Tang, Michael M. Koerner, William S. Edgerly and George N. Hatsopoulos. Sixty-eight percent of the class made contributions.
"We have redefined what succeeding is," said E. Milton Bevington, chair of the Class of 1949 Reunion Gift Committee. The class' goal was $19.49 million. "We are well aware that records are made to be broken. We challenge our successors to do it. For once, we will be happy to be outdone."
The Class of 1959 presented $10.3 million in gifts from 63 percent of its members. The Class of 1954 contributed $2.6 million (51 percent), the Class of 1974 gave $2 million (69 percent) and the Class of 1964 gave $1.5 million (50 percent).
Counting gifts and bequests for the past four years, the Class of 1939 donated $8 million (73 percent) and the Class of 1934 gave $2.7 million (80 percent) -- "plus $25,000 at dessert," said Mr. Morefield. The Class of 1929 raised $1.99 million (67 percent) and the Class of 1924 -- with no formal campaign -- gave $2.6 million (83 percent).
In accepting the gifts, President Charles M. Vest invited the alumni/ae to enlist in a campaign to assure that MIT continues to attract the high-caliber students who traditionally choose to come here.
"For everyone here, the reasons for choosing MIT were, and I hope remain, 'intuitively obvious,'" he said. "Nonetheless, we must learn to restate that case as clearly as possible in order to help today's and tomorrow's prospective students to understand why they should want to come here -- even when faced with many other attractive alternatives."
President Vest noted that interest in studying science has been dwindling since 1970 and that many highly rated universities were offering merit aid. With the college-age population expected to peak in 2007, the competition for top students will become keener.
"No one knows better than you that the multiple rewards of an MIT education make it one of the best investments on the planet," said President Vest. "That is why I hope that each of you will help us to refine this message and to promulgate it in your communities, your businesses and your professional associations. Like its graduates, MIT has never been willing to rest on its laurels."
Barbara Gordon, executive director of the MIT Club of Washington, DC, was made an honorary member of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae. Mr. Morefield concluded the meeting by handing the gavel to his successor, Brian Hughes (SB 1977), who will be the association's 105th president.
A version of this article appeared in the June 9, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 33).