Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Led by the Class of 1963, which celebrated its 40th reunion with a recording-breaking $111.8 million gift from 70 percent of the class, MIT reunion classes donated an unprecedented $179.3 million to the Institute this year. The total shattered the record $90.7 million raised a year ago.
The 50th-reunion Class of 1953 presented a gift of $25.4 million, with 63 percent of class members participating. Other record-setting gifts were made by the classes of 1978 ($6.2 million), 1958 ($3.5 million) and 1948 ($3.3 million). Without formal campaigns, two older classes also set records: the Class of 1928 celebrated its 75th reunion with a $9.7 million gift and the Class of 1923 gave $4.6 million at its 80th reunion.
"The financial support that alumni provide to the Institute assures Tech's continued success," said James A. Lash (S.B. 1966), outgoing president of the Association of MIT Alumni and Alumnae. "The efforts that reunion classes make to raise class gifts are one of the most significant forms of support."
Lash announced at Saturday's Tech Night Dinner that Lucy V. Miller, director of principal gifts for the Office of Resource Development, and Louis E. Alexander, director of alumni seminars in the Alumni Association, had been elected to honorary membership in the association.
Miller, who came to MIT in 1980 in financial aid and joined Resource Development six years later, "has demonstrated enormous commitment to the MIT community," Lash said. "She has gained the trust and admiration of countless alumni who have had the good fortune to deal with her, and her legacy of service will benefit MIT for many years to come."
Alexander joined MIT 25 years ago as a part-time employee at the New York alumni center. He became a full-time New York center staff member in 1979 and joined the Cambridge office as regional director for the Gulf/Atlantic region in 1984. He added Europe to his responsibilities a short time later and has served as director of alumni seminars in recent years. "Lou's quirky sense of humor is much loved by the MIT community and alumni around the world are endeared to him," Lash said.
Lash concluded the evening by presenting the gavel to his successor, Paula Olsiewski (Ph.D. 1979), who was recognized for her leadership with a Henry B. Kane '24 Award in 1995 and the Bronze Beaver Award in 2000.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 12, 2003.