Beloved traditions and entertaining surprises greeted more than 3,100 alumni and guests at Tech Reunions June 3-6. Participants, who hailed from 44 U.S. states and locales plus 29 countries, could choose from 139 events ranging from class dinners to a Pops concert to faculty lectures.
Technology Day, featuring talks by leading MIT thinkers and a festive luncheon to celebrate class giving, included an enormous amount of good cheer — and great giving results. Don Shobrys ‘75, Annual Fund board chair, presented an oversized check to Hockfield representing reunion giving totaling $36,126,812 to date. You can watch the action as gifts and donor numbers are credited on the class giving web site until the books close June 30.
President Susan Hockfield saluted the Class of 2010 for their 72 percent participation — the highest of any senior class. Their efforts earned $25,000 from a challenge grant from Alumni Association President Ken Wang ’71.
- The 113th Tech Night at the Pops featured a performance of Mendelssohn’s first piano concerto by Sarah Rumbley ’12 and the audience also delighted in a Beatles sing-along via the alumni-created Rock Band video game.
- John Holdren ’65, SM ’66, science and technology advisor to President Barack Obama, took the podium at his class dinner at MIT’s Endicott House to share a bit of his on-the-job experience on Slice of MIT.
- Technology Day, webcast live, offered an Institute overview by President Hockfield and MIT faculty presentations. Ann Graybiel PhD ’71 described how her work on how the brain’s ability to toggle between conscious and habitual activity could lead to new treatments for depression and Parkinson ’s disease. Anantha Chandrakasan described next generation microelectrical devices powered by the body that could, for example, warn a patent about an impending seizure. Don Sadoway described his unconventional work making batteries bigger rather than smaller: he was inspired by the scale of industrial aluminum smelters to develop efficient, room-sized liquid metal batteries.
- The oldest living alum in attendance was 93-year-old Gerry McCaul '40.
- Want to get a feel for Reunion Row? Watch this practice session on June 5 then hear Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill ’86 announce the winners.
- Honorary memberships in the MIT Alumni Association were awarded to President Hockfield and Sara Bittenbender, co-chair of the Class of 1940 Reunion committee, a pivotal class volunteer both before and after the death of her husband some 35 years ago. Hockfield said that MIT feels like home after her five years here but she acknowledged that “It took me a little longer than most of you to become a member of the Alumni Association.”
- Wang passed the gavel to incoming president Anne Street ’69. “Her leadership style, enthusiasm for MIT, and wide-ranging volunteer experience will make her an exceptional president of the Alumni Association,” he said.