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Celebrating, reconnecting at Tech Reunions 2014

More than 3,300 alumni and friends returned to MIT's campus June 5-8.
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Members of the Class of 1964 march toward the Commencement ceremonies on Killian Court.
Members of the Class of 1964 march toward the Commencement ceremonies on Killian Court.
Photo: Melody Ko

Clear skies, red jackets, and big smiles were common sights on campus during Tech Reunions 2014, held June 5-8.

More than 3,300 alumni and friends—representing 14 class years, the Cardinal and Gray Society, MIT10, and graduate programs — enjoyed four days of celebration that included 159 events such as the annual Tech Night at Pops, the late-night Toast to Tech, special programs for graduate alumni, and a Technology Day program on the future of planet Earth.

During the Technology Day luncheon, the Alumni Association announced total reunion giving from all classes of more than $80 million and welcomed MIT President MIT L. Rafael Reif as its newest honorary member. “Seeing you all here under one roof is a reminder of the unbelievable power of community,” Reif said. “As I look around, I see a roomful of people who share my love and appreciation for our remarkable institution.” 

On Friday, the president of the Alumni Association, John Jarve '78, SM '79, and the 50th reunion Class of 1964 led the 148th Commencement procession into Killian Court, a longstanding tradition. During the weekend, the Class of 1964 enjoyed a reception at Gray House, a gala dinner at the Marriott Cambridge, and a Sunday-morning farewell brunch.

The 40-year reunion group, the Class of 1974, enjoyed a Friday-evening dinner and reception with Reif and his wife, Christine, at the Media Lab; a 1970s-themed party at the Stratton Student Center on Saturday night; and a farewell brunch at the Harold W. Pierce Boathouse on Sunday morning.

The 25-year reunion group, the Class of 1989, enjoyed a New England clambake in the Kresge Oval, dinner on the top floor of the Media Lab, and a brunch hosted by the Reifs.

For the 117th year, alumni gathered for Tech Night at Pops, which featured a piano duet from David Deveau, a senior lecturer in music, and Jee-Hoon Krska ‘90. This year’s Pops celebrated the 100th birthday of Tim the Beaver, MIT’s longtime mascot, and the set list for the evening included a welcome to Tech Reunions’ oldest reunion class, the Class of 1944; renditions of songs by George Gershwin and the Beatles; and, of course, a "Happy Birthday" singalong.

Other reunion traditions included the Tech Challenge Games, won by the Class of 1984 team and the combined team of the Classes of 1974 and 1979, and the Reunion Row race, which was won by the Class of 1969.

Technology Day 2014 — whose theme was "The Future of Planet Earth" — explored Earth’s past, present, and future, and the recent stresses imposed on the planet by human activity.The program featured presentations from six MIT faculty: microbiologist Tanja Bosak; climate scientist Kerry Emanuel '76, PhD '78; energy expert Christopher Knittel; desalination advocate John Lienhard; geologist and planetary scientist Taylor Perron; and exoplanet expert Sara Seager.

At the Technology Day luncheon, the highlight of reunion giving was the announcement by the 50th-reunion class of donations exceeding $27.2 million and a participation rate close to the reunion-themed goal of 64.64 percent. In addition, the Class of 1989’s 25th-reunion gift topped $904,000; the Class of 1974’s 40th-reunion gift totaled nearly $1.2 million; and the newly graduated Class of 2014 broke all records with a participation rate of more than 86 percent. Total reunion giving from all classes, as of June 12, reached $80,098,211. Gifts received by June 30 will be counted toward final reunion and annual totals.

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