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Classes donate $81M

Reunion classes donated $81,315,483 to MIT, the third-largest total in the history of the reunion giving program, according to figures announced at the Alumni Association's Tech Day luncheon.

The Class of 1954 led the way with a gift of $25.5 million. There were record-breaking gifts from the 55th and 45th reunion classes. The Class of 1949, with 48 percent of the class contributing, donated a total of $5.3 million, and the Class of 1959, with 43 percent of its alumni donating, tallied $4.6 million. The highest class participation rate was 80 percent from the Class of 1939, which contributed almost $5.3 million.

Paula J. Olsiewski (Ph.D. 1979), outgoing president of the Alumni Association, also announced that Marilee Jones, Warren M. Rohsenow and Joseph P. Recchio were given honorary membership in the association. Anyone who has rendered outstanding service to the association or the Institute is eligible for the honor.

Jones has been at MIT for more than 20 years and has been dean of admissions since 1998. "Because of Marilee's leadership and passion, the message of 'science in the service of mankind' now resonates among generations of students," her award said. "Marilee has also been visionary in her approach toward admissions strategies and processes, incorporating faculty and alumni perspectives, and the concerns and interests of prospective students and their parents."

Professor Emeritus Rohsenow retired from MIT in 1985 after 39 years on the mechanical engineering faculty, but "his giving nature is still apparent in the continuing interest he shows to his former students, and they remain devoted to him," Olsiewski said.

Recchio began working for the Alumni Association in 1975 in data entry and is now its director of operations and information systems. "Joe's internal roles in the Alumni Association have tended to hide from alumni and alumni volunteers, yet he has made a substantial impact on the organization's foundation and success over the years," Olsiewski said.

Olsiewski also presented the Alumni Association's Bronze Beaver Award to President Charles M. Vest and Mrs. Rebecca Vest. In addition to everything Vest himself has done for MIT, "Chuck and Becky also have been very generous in opening up their home to alumni, students and parents, hosting Parents Weekends and attending Tech Reunions. They have flown tens of thousands of miles to visit with alumni around the world. They have been an excellent first family of MIT," she said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 9, 2004 (download PDF).

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