A memorial service celebrating the life of Carol Van Aken, 55 -- assistant controller, 34-year Institute employee and alumna -- will be held at the First Congregational Church on the Common on Church Street in Winchester at 11am on Saturday, Jan. 30, followed by a reception at the church. She passed away on January 22.
Ms. Van Aken was one of 20 women in class of about 1,000 men entering MIT in the fall of 1961 and was president of the freshman women's dorm at 120 Bay State Road. As an undergraduate, she chaired the Association of MIT Women Students' national symposium in 1964 on "Women and the Scientific Professions." She subsequently accepted the Karl Taylor Compton Prize on behalf of that group. She was active in her class' reunion committees and in the Association of MIT Alumnae.
Her only full-time employer was MIT. After receiving the SB in mathematics in 1965, she was hired by F. Leroy "Doc" Foster as a staff assistant in the Division of Sponsored Research (now the Office of Sponsored Programs). She became assistant to director George Dummer in 1967, research coordinator in 1975, special projects director in 1979 and associate director in 1983.
In 1990, Ms. Van Aken became a senior financial analyst in the Comptroller's Accounting Office and assumed her most recent position as assistant controller in 1993. Her son David is a junior at MIT majoring in computer science and psychology. Her husband Peter, also an MIT alumnus (SB 1963), is CFO and principal at Xanalog Corp.
She is also survived by her daughter, Christina L. Van Aken of Sunnyvale, CA; her parents, Clifford and Helen Gustafson of Portland, CT; two brothers, Charles Gustafson of Portland, CT, and Clifford Gustafson of Canterbury, CT; two sisters, Nancy Droit of Glendale, AZ, and Elise O'Brien of Portland, CT.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Carol Van Aken Memorial Fund, c/o MIT Treasurer's Office, 238 Main St., Cambridge, MA 02142, or to the Outreach Program Fund of the First Congregational Church on the Common, Winchester, MA 01890.
A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 17).