James DiCarlo - Tech Reunions giving tops 125 million

Despite the rain, alumni enjoy four days of celebration, remembrances and giving back.

Nancy DuVergne Smith
June 14, 2013

When some 3,660 alumni and guests came to campus June 6-9 for Tech Reunions, their activities ranged from the Toast to Tech celebration that drew some 700 people for music and dancing Saturday night to the Technology Day Luncheon, where class leaders announced a total of $125,792,105 in gifts.

The Class of 1963, many dressed in red jackets and rain gear, celebrated their 50th reunion by leading the Commencement procession into Killian Court on June 7. The next day, they announced donations of more than $43.7 million over the five-year reunion giving period. Their 69 percent participation rate was only bested by the Class of 2013 senior gift that drew support from 83 percent of the class, a new record.

Four classes broke records with their dollar donations: The Class of 1983 with more than $4.3 million; the Class of 1978 with $4 million; the Class of 1958 with $16.3 million; and the Class of 1938 with $10.7 million.

At the Tech Day Luncheon, the Alumni Association announced its newest honorary members: Larry Anderson, associate professor of DAPER Intercollegiate Sports and head coach, MIT men’s basketball team; Cardinal Warde, professor of electrical engineering and computer science; and Sean A. Collier, MIT Campus Police officer who was killed while on duty on April 18, 2013.

Alumni and their guests chose among 163 events that ranged from Tech Night at Pops, which featured a performance by Professor John Harbison and the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, to a black alumni celebration featuring Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson '68, PhD '73. From viewing stations throughout campus, many also watched Commencement speaker Drew Houston '05 describe his journey from graduation to head of the multibillion-dollar web services firm, Dropbox.

The Class of 1978 won the family-oriented Tech Challenge Games, which included a competition that sent Angry Birds catapulting toward a toy piano on a Baker House target. The Class of 1963 won Reunion Row.

The Tech Day 2013 program, Unraveling the Workings of the Brain, focused on MIT research efforts aimed at a greater understanding of brain functions and disorders. James DiCarlo, head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, moderated a panel that included Professor Joshua Tenenbaum PhD ’99, Associate Professor Rebecca Saxe PhD ’03, Associate Professor Edward Boyden ’99 and other faculty.