MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


At the close of FY 98 the Alumni Association has much to celebrate. This year will be remembered the best Alumni Fund year to date. Highlights include total dollars of $28.7 million, $2.1 million ahead of FY97; total donors of 30,815, for the fifth consecutive year of increased donor numbers; and a 48% increase in parent donors. On a world tour, Robert M. Metcalfe `68, Association president, visited cities from Hong Kong to Chicago to Oslo, speaking before nearly 4,000 alumni and guests. Our Alumni Network Services program reports a one-year 130% increase - 15,000 at year end - in number of registered users of E-mail Forwarding for Life. The Association magazine was re-launched with the May/June issue as Technology Review, MIT's Magazine of Innovation. We initiated a successful MIT On The Road program with seminars in Sanibel, Florida, and New York City. Three pilot programs involving alumni with faculty and students in MIT's classrooms were conducted. And our alumni and staff met the challenges of Tech Week and reunions with President Clinton as commencement speaker. Altogether, nearly 18,000 alumni, parents, students and their guests attended Association-sponsored activities this year.

During FY 98, alumni volunteers and staff have worked together toward achieving results in each of these strategic priority areas: the Alumni Fund and its goals; Technology Review and its objectives for growth; alumni services, especially alumni network services; alumni, student and faculty partnerships in teaching and research; and alumni database client-server conversion. Outcomes in each of these areas will be elaborated upon in the report, which follows. The first section documents the successful volunteer partnership and support which is the hallmark of the Association's work. The report continues with more detail on Alumni Fund results, on the Technology Review re-launch, on Alumni Network Services and the Association's increasing use of the Internet to meet objectives, on alumni programs and services at MIT and worldwide, and finally on the important support functions including Alumni Information Services and other Association print publications.


Led by Robert M. Metcalfe '68, Association president, more than 3,800 volunteers worked on behalf of MIT this year including nearly 300 alumni serving as members of the Corporation and its visiting committees, more than 400 working on a successful Tech Week/reunions program, and 700 serving as officers in 94 clubs and five affinity groups worldwide.

The most essential partnership is the shared leadership between the chief volunteer and the executive vice president. This year it has been a rare opportunity to be able to work with such an accomplished individual as Robert M. Metcalfe '68, inventor of ethernet, founder of 3Com and renowned technology pundit. His contributions to the success of the Association this year have ranged from his suggestion to bring more alumni into the classroom, to his visits to cities around the world talking with MIT groups about his professional expertise, the future of the Internet, and encouraging alumni to become involved with MIT. The impact of his participation in the Technology Review Board during this key year in which the magazine has been reinvented cannot be exaggerated. Perhaps it goes without saying that the staff benefited greatly from his personal contributions. Like each MIT volunteer, Metcalfe has brought to the table unique skills and exceptional talent, and through the thoughtful exercise of each, he brought even this excellent staff to new levels of accomplishment.

Metcalfe chose to focus the Alumni Leadership Conference (ALC) on the theme of alumni involvement in teaching and learning at MIT. Held on September 20, the program "Enriching the MIT Experience: Alumni, Faculty and Student Partnerships" was introduced by Metcalfe. He asserted that MIT must use more effectively the tremendous resource of its alumni to add value to an MIT education. Metcalfe carried this theme around the world during the year to very favorable reaction. Speakers for the plenary session included Provost Joel Moses MA '67, Professors Woodie Flowers ME '73, Arthur Steinberg, Glen Urban, Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Rosalind Williams, Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education.

An annual feature at the luncheon during the ALC is the presentation of the Association awards for outstanding volunteer leadership and performance. Honorary memberships were presented at the Technology Day luncheon on June 7, 1997 and recognized again at the ALC awards luncheon.

Bronze Beaver Award for distinguished service to MIT, the highest Association recognition honor: Albert M. Bottoms MT `62, Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. `54, William L. Maini `51, Hyun-A C. Park `83

Harold E. Lobdell `17 Distinguished Service Award for sustained alumni relations service of special depth: Bruce A. Blomstrom `59, M. William Dix, Jr. `67, Richard R. Lowe CP'61, Martha A. Margowsky SL `78, Royal Sterling `23

George B. Morgan `20 Award for excellence in service to the Educational Council: Donald S. Callahan `58, Charles W. Johnson CE `55, Harry G. Jones `48, Jill J. Wittels `70

Henry B. Kane `24 Award for exceptional fundraising service and accomplishment: W. Gordon Bowie `29, Brian G. R. Hughes `77, George P. Palo `28, Richard F. Shea `24

Presidential Citation Award given to alumni volunteer groups for distinguished service: AMITA/Maragaret L. MacVicar `65 Oral History Project, Committee on Alumni Online Communications, MIT Club of Washington Seminar Series, MIT Club of New York

Honorary Membership: Samuel Jay Keyser, Barbara Gunderson Stowe, Kathryn Adams Willmore

The National Selection Committee (NSC), chaired by Richard A. Jacobs `56, named the following alumni to MIT and Association governance positions.

MIT Corporation for five-year terms: Glen V. Dorflinger `46, John W. Jarve, Jr. `78, Robert M. Metcalfe `68

Association president-select to serve as president FY99: John A. Morefield `56

Association vice presidents for two-year terms: Bradford Bates `59, Jorge Rodriguez `60

Association district directors for two-year terms: James A. Moody `75, Donald Reynerson ME `75, Raymond A. Grammer, Jr. `45, Cordelia M. Price `78, Joel E. Schindall `63

Seventy-four alumni served on Association national boards and committees, including as chairs of standing committees: Noel S. Bartlett `60, Audit and Budget Committee; Brian G. R. Hughes `77, Alumni Fund Board; Christian J. Matthew `43, Technology Review Board; Wendyl A. Reis, Jr. `56, Enterprise Forum Board; and Hyun-A C. Park `83, Technology Day Committee.

Afternoon breakout sessions featured a session titled "Staying in Touch - Enriching Communications with Fellow Alumni" and included roundtables with morning speakers for alumni interested in volunteering for classroom related activities; a report from the Task Force on Student Life and Learning; an Educational Council workshop; and an Enterprise Forum workshop.

Pre-ALC activities on Friday, September 19 saw a record attendance at the club leaders workshop which offered opportunities to learn about new programs and policies for supporting alumni activities in the field. The annual solicitor training workshop gave participants tips on successful solicitations and the opportunity to discuss the case for MIT support with senior officers of the Institute.

Following the ALC, three pilot alumni involvement initiatives were guided by Association staff. Working with Professor Woodie Flowers and other Mechanical Engineering Department faculty, alumni volunteered to advise the student teams in the department senior design course. Other alumni agreed to be interviewed by students in a pilot course being developed for the faculty's new communications requirement. And for the first Freshman/Alumni Summer Internship Program, alumni were asked to serve as mentors and industry employers. Altogether, more than 80 alumni volunteered to participate in these new activities, and each of these initiatives has been evaluated by faculty who intend to continue them in the coming academic year.

A service to current students which called on the greater involvement of our alumni was a set of internship and externship programs held in FY 98. Nineteen undergraduates were chosen from 23 who applied to take part in internships during the Independent Activities Period with alumni in their fields around the country; a Washington DC externship program successfully linked 12 graduate students with alumni in that area for a week in January. Each of these will certainly be repeated in the coming year.

The first European club leaders workshop was held in Paris on November 1, 1997, with representatives from ten of thirteen clubs present. This workshop will be held every two years in a European city. In December, the Association approved the creation of a new committee for Alumni Network Services (ANS); the twelve member ANS Advisory Council, chaired by Michael J. Greata '63, includes two alumni faculty and two Corporation members. Other volunteer highlights of the year included the creation of a Parent Connections volunteer corps, a new ad hoc committee on clubs to evaluate the health of the club system and recommend improvements, and the growth of the Institute Career Assistance Network mentor group by 300 over last year.


This was yet another record-setting year for the Alumni Fund, not just in total dollar amount - which is impressive - but in the Fund's various component parts as well. The total of $28.7 million outstripped last year's record by $2.1 million and exceeded the goal by $1.2 million. The chart below tells the story, including these highlights: an all-time high number of donors; a record number of graduate alumni donors; and a near-doubling of the number of non-alumni parent donors to the Parents Fund.

FY 98 Alumni Fund Goals and Measurements


FY97 Results

FY97/FY98 Goals

FY98 Goals

FY98 Year End Projection


Total Alumni Fund







#Donors to Fund






#Donors > $500






% Donors > $500






#First-time donors






Graduate Students


# Donors to Fund






# Donors > $500






% Donors > $500






# First-time donors







# Donors to Fund






# First-time donors






Total Giving > $2k

#Donors > $2,000






% Donors > $2,000






Parents Fund

Total $






# Donors






Graduate alumni only (GSE) results continued strong with 31% participation for the eighth consecutive year of increased donors. Dollars from graduate alumni increased by ten percent, ahead of the overall dollar increase for the Fund.

Undergraduate annual fund participation is used as the sole indicator of alumni satisfaction in the US News and World Report university rankings. Last year MIT was eighth in annual giving participation among its peer institutions in this annual survey. This year's result of 43% participation puts MIT in a strong position for next year's rankings. Exceeding the goal for donors of $500 or more, sixteen percent of undergraduate donors made a gift at this level, a one-year increase of eight percent.

Led by record-breaking 50th, 20th and 15th reunion gifts, class reunion giving totaled $46.4 million in gifts and pledges. More than half the reunion gift donors increased the level of their previous gift with very strong participation rates in each reunion class, exceeding the undergraduate average by at least four points in all but the two youngest classes. See chart below:

Class Year
Gift Total
















































* five-year campaigns

Telethons continue to account for nearly one-third of all Alumni Fund donors. More than 1,000 caller nights produced outstanding results again this year. Dollars pledged in volunteer student telethons ($240,000) increase by nearly 60% over last year; academic department telethons continued strong with a 71% pledge rate, reporting $262,000 in pledges to department needs; and Tech Callers increased contacts by 24% and pledges by 16%.

The Alumni Fund Board recommendation to raise the minimum gift amount for receipt of Technology Review from $35 to $50 was approved by the Association Board of Directors. Recent graduates of less than five years will continue to receive the magazine for a minimum gift of $25. In another action the Fund Board recommended a new brochure on making gifts of appreciated securities which showed positive results. Other Alumni Fund initiatives this year included increases in life income fund lunches, a telethon in February for gift upgrading among donors who had previously given more than $500, and the initiation of a campaign for support of Baker House restoration.

All these factors, along with strong volunteer efforts, combine to make it clear that MIT alumni continue to take enormous pride in their alma mater, to value the education it provided them, and to reflect that pride and appreciation in generous contributions of money, time, energy and good will.


This was a year of great change for Technology Review. The magazine underwent numerous staffing changes, editorial redesign and repositioning, and the implementation of a business plan designed to transform the magazine into a profitable, respected, and highly visible magazine focusing on technology and innovation. R. Bruce Journey, Publisher and CEO, and the management team conducted an in-depth analysis of the magazine including focus groups with readers and interviews with major advertisers. Technology Review's Board approved a $2.5 million multi-year investment plan, which was subsequently endorsed by the parent Association Board of Directors and President Vest. With these endorsements, the staff began the task of circulation development, operational re-alignment, and editorial redesign and repositioning. A portion of the $2.5 million was released in fiscal year 1998 to support these important efforts. At the end the growth plan's first year, we are happy to report that the magazine is on target financially and that the market and audience reaction so far has exceeded expectations.

Beginning in June, 1997, a volunteer committee conducted a nation-wide search for a new editor and a fresh editorial focus. The unanimous selection for Editor-in-Chief was John Benditt. Before coming to Technology Review, Benditt spent nine years at Scientific American and seven years at Science magazine. Benditt joined Journey in developing a new vision for the 100-year-old publication. Their vision can be summed up in one word - innovation. The new leadership believes the time is ripe for a magazine that focuses on the subject of innovation, one of the most vigorous and dynamic aspects of our society. The new magazine was launched in May of 1998 with great editorial success.

The MIT News section was no less a part of the magazine's re-design, acquiring new voices in Senior Editor Mary Tamer, who came to MIT from Harvard's Kennedy School and Concord Academy, and Associate Editor Abigail Vargus '97. They worked closely with Alumni Activities staff to completely revamp the MIT News, by developing new sections, highlighting the accomplishments and the writing of MIT alumni, faculty, and friends, and generally diversifying the content of the news being reported from the campus. The magazine staff also partnered effectively with Christine Tempesta of the Geographic Programs staff, who has served as editor of the Alumni Volunteer News component of the MIT News, to further recognize the contributions of the Alumni Association's 3,800+ loyal volunteers.


As is the case in much of the private sector, the Internet has become the fastest growing area of Association work. The Internet and especially the World Wide Web present an opportunity to extend the MIT community and to advance the Association's dual goals of service to MIT and its alumni. The centerpiece of our online activity is the Alumni Network Services (ANS) program, which is leading the Association staff and volunteers to develop information and services on the Web.

In March we learned that the Association web site comprised the second largest set of pages on the server, second only to MIT's IS pages. Even when Technology Review moved its pages to a commercial server the Association remained in the top six MIT web sites. These pages include sites maintained by 56 volunteer webmasters representing classes, clubs and other alumni groups. Online volunteer support includes server access, support by ANS staff, and a club volunteers "tool-kit" posted online.

Many Association activities are promoted online as well as with traditional print publications. Event registrations are available online and increasing rapidly, with ten percent of reunion attendees using the secure transaction online registration process. The Association promoted the Institute commencement webcast to 28,000 alumni whose email addresses are on record and received favorable notice from most of the nearly 400 alumni who commented. Nearly 13,000 people took advantage of the webcast.

During the past year accomplishments include the growth of our first ANS service, E-mail Forwarding for Life (EFL) by 130% over FY 97 to 15,000 registered alumni. We are seeing an even more dramatic increase in use, with more than 10,000 messages forwarded each day. Version 1.0 of the online directory has been available since November 1997, with more than 25,000 records holding searchable data; alumni can update their own directory record which will save Alumni Records staff time when the new client-server system is in place. In cooperation with Resource Development staff, a Giving at MIT site was launched in the fall with secure credit card gift options to be promoted more vigorously during FY99.

The original Alumni Association web site, launched in June of 1995, was completely redesigned and re-launched in March 1998 with an emphasis on customer service. The user interface for the ANS secure alumni-only site was revised to reflect the more than 300 weekly customer suggestions and questions.

With the leadership of the ANS Advisory Council, led by Michael Greata '63, the FY99 ANS budget and operational plan were submitted to MIT and funded, allowing the addition of two more staff bringing full time staff on this program to five people in the coming year. Priorities in FY98, to continue into FY99, have been on customer service, improved EFL performance, expanded directory services, the addition of web forums, and integration with the Alumni Information Services database and services.

In addition to the above web services, the Association supports and maintains 120 email lists with volunteer editors. Clubs send event notices, classes solicit and distribute class notes and reunion notices, and volunteer groups including club presidents and the Association board of directors receives regular updates from MIT staff.

As this mode for communication and service delivery has become more robust, it has presented challenges for the Association and its volunteers. We are learning new ways of operating and are finding new needs for collaboration inside and outside the Institute. An already agile staff and volunteer cohort are being required to become even more opportunistic and more than ever to be responsive to our alumni, who are using the Internet more and more frequently and expect MIT to be there with the best service.


One of the Association's overarching objectives is to keep alumni linked with the institution by bringing them back to take part in the life of the campus. As ever, the centerpiece of this effort was the annual Tech Week and reunion programs. These events were a tremendous success, with nearly 3,000 alumni and guests returning to MIT. Nine of the 13 reunion classes had reunion attendance above the forecast, with strong turnout from the other classes. Despite the logistical demands imposed by the participation of President Clinton in Commencement, the third year of a combined reunions/Commencement weekend worked relatively smoothly.

Highlights of class events included a Class of '48 dinner dance organized by Harold Ottobrini '48, featuring an appearance by the MIT Ballroom Dance Team who stayed for lively dancing with the 200 class members and their guests. Jonathan Goldstein '83 recruited astronaut Cady Coleman '83 to share her experiences in the space program. Norman Leventhal '38 invited his classmates to view the Normal Leventhal '38 Map Collection in the Compton Gallery and then to attend a reception in his home at Rowes Wharf. The Class of 1963 won the second annual Reunion Row and the class of 1988 won the Tech Challenge Games. All planning was ably led by Amy Seybold-Burke, newly-appointed Director of Reunions and Events, who joined the staff in December, from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where she had created the alumni relations office.

The Technology Day program was entitled "Creating Wealth: Knowledge, Skills, Capital, Resources" and included welcoming remarks by Charles M. Vest HM, followed by a plenary session which featured Tony K. Tan PH '52, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Minister for Defense; Judith C. Lewent GM '72, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.; David H. Marks, Professor and Director, Program in Environmental Engineering and Research, MIT; and Lester C. Thurow HM, Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Professor of Management and Economics. President Vest moderated a lively question and answer period with many more questions than time allowed. There were also three outstanding afternoon sessions. Karen W. Arenson '70, former Association president and currently a reporter for The New York Times, moderated a discussion on the return on philanthropic investment. Lotte Bailyn, T. Wilson Professor of Management and current chair of the MIT faculty, moderated a discussion on maximizing human capital in organizations. Robert Metcalfe '68 moderated a group of very distinguished reunion alumni in discussing entrepreneurship to a packed 10-250. Hyun-A Park '83 chaired the Technology Day Committee, which planned this extraordinary day.

The Alumni Association continued its tradition of strong dedication to the senior class. Senior Dinners, hosted by President Vest and his wife, Rebecca, and organized by the Alumni Association, were well attended by 442 seniors as well as alumni volunteers. For the second year, the Alumni Association worked with the senior class not only on the senior gift but also on planning for senior week. Senior Week involved 300 seniors in ten events. The welcome reception for graduating seniors and their families during reunions was a colossal success, with approximately 1,000 students, alumni, and family members participating.

Family Weekend, with an attendance of 1,500, built on its well-earned reputation for opening the lives of students on campus with their parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. Falling as it did just weeks after the tragic death of Scott Krueger '01, the planned program was successfully re-arranged to allow senior faculty and administration to address the urgent and legitimate concerns of family members which arose from the incident. Feedback from families was extremely positive, under the circumstances, with gratitude expressed for the opportunity to make themselves heard on this important and sensitive issue. In May, the second annual Student/Alumni Expo was held in Lobby 10, with staff and Student Ambassadors on hand to personally introduce soon-to-depart seniors to the Association's events and services, including on-site registration for Alumni Network Services and E-mail Forwarding for Life in the Bush Room. Student Ambassadors, who numbered 20, were instrumental in the success of the more than 30 events held on campus through the year.

The Enterprise Forum strives to combine the goals of bringing alumni to campus with the goal of sharing the wealth on campus with alumni around the country. This goal was achieved in 1998 through delivery of two very well received satellite broadcasts featuring leading academic lights of MIT. January's featured speaker was Edward B. Roberts '57, David Sarnoff Professor of the Management of Technology at the Sloan School, with a talk on "Building High-Tech Enterprises: The Next Twenty Years;" the moderator was Dennis R. Costello '81, Chief Investment Officer for Advent International in Boston. About 500 people in the Wong Auditorium and another 1,500 people in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware Valley, Northeast Ohio, Palm Beach, Oregon Beach, Houston, Toronto, and Washington, DC attended this program.

A broadcast in May was moderated by Lita Nelsen '64, Director of MIT's Technology Licensing Office, with the talk given by her frequent collaborator Robert S. Langer CE '74, Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at MIT. Titled "Creating and Implementing Breakthrough Technologies," the talk was enjoyed by roughly 500 attendees in Kresge Auditorium, who were joined by another 1,500 in Central Ohio, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Delaware Valley, Northeast Ohio, Oregon, Toronto, and Washington, DC.

Through this set of programs, a significant number of alumni were involved in receiving important, current information from the Institute. In addition, a number of the receiving sites involved the cooperative effort of a Forum chapter and a regional Alumni Association club. The building and strengthening of these ties is a long-term goal for the Forum.

March saw a celebration of the end of an era, as MIT's Building 20, "The Magical Incubator," was feted with a weekend-long series of events. The Association supported the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with representation on the planning committee, and by welcoming the many alumni who have returned for one last tour of the building before its demise. In June, AMITA celebrated the 125th anniversary of the graduation of Ellen Swallow Richards, Class of 1873, MIT's first woman graduate; the centerpiece of this celebration was a popular exhibit at the entrance to the Infinite Corridor, detailing the history and accomplishments of women at the Institute.


The Association truly surpassed itself in its ongoing mission of bringing the spirit of MIT to its alumni "where they live." The newly re-constituted MIT On The Road program combined with class mini-reunions; the tour of Association president Bob Metcalfe '68, who played to sell-out audiences around the world; the first club officers workshop in Europe; the satellite broadcasts produced by the Enterprise Forum; record-breaking participation in the Alumni Travel Program - all these and many other events combined to mean that well over 10,000 alumni worldwide were linked to the Institute in unique and important ways.

The Association was given a unique and exciting opportunity with the presidency of Robert M. Metcalfe '68, VP for Technology at the International Data Group, Inc. and a world-renowned technology pundit, completely fitting, as he invented ethernet while at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in 1973, and subsequently founded 3Com Corporation. Metcalfe is also a recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Before he even began his term as president, plans were underway to allow Metcalfe to reach the broadest possible audience of alumni with his thought-provoking messages on everything from the state of the Internet to alumni involvement in undergraduate education.

Eventually, the "Metcalfe Tour" was hatched, centered around Metcalfe's talk on "Internet Futures;" this provocative speech explores how (in his own words) "the Internet has managed to grow so rapidly, despite bogging down and intermittently collapsing. New technologies will help but the most promising of Internet futures will require that Internet service providers cooperate more and that telephone monopolies be broken. Then, the Internet will bring us global electronic commerce, telepresence (so we can stay home more), and immortality." Dates and locations were chosen, with many events co-sponsored and with attendees from IDG, Inc., and eventually Metcalfe gave his talk to enthusiastic audiences in 11 domestic and eight international cities, traveling everywhere from San Francisco to Munich to Kuala Lumpur.

The MIT On The Road program reintroduced and revitalized a program that had been attempted in the past, an effort to bring some of the Technology Day experience to alumni in a variety of locations worldwide. The kick-off MOTR was held in Sanibel, Florida, in January, and was organized to coincide with mini-reunions of the classes of 1940 and 1950, whose participation greatly enhanced the eventual success of the program. The theme was "Renaissance Thinking in the 21st Century," and included seminars exploring cutting-edge fields such as artificial intelligence, climate, genetics, the Internet, and urban development. Speakers included Kerry Emanuel '76, Professor of Meteorology, David Housman, Novartis Professor of Biology, Samuel Jay Keyser HM, de Florez Professor of Linguistics, and William J. Mitchell, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. The first evening's keynote address was given by Robert M. Metcalfe '68, who gave his "Internet Futures" talk; the second night, a talk entitled "Around MIT in 180 Days" was presented by Alexander V. d'Arbeloff '49, Chairman of the MIT Corporation and Chairman and co-founder of Teradyne, Inc. Overall reaction of participants indicated that MOTR was off to a roaring start.

New York City was the next site, with another forward-looking theme titled "MIT Perspectives on Trends Shaping the 21st Century." Seminar topics ranged from brain plasticity to the Middle East to finance, and Metcalfe once more delivered his by-now famous "Internet Futures" speech. Other speakers included Dr. Emilio Bizzi, Eugene McDermott Professor in the Brain Sciences and Human Behavior, Philip S. Khoury, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science, and Dr. Andrew Lo, Harris and Harris Group Professor at the Sloan School of Management. Again, the response to this lifelong learning program was enthusiastic and the stage was set for the continued development of the program in the coming year. Events were planned in Lisbon, Portugal, timed to coincide with EXPO '98 and offering a specially designed Alumni Travel Program; Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Boston. These successful first steps in breathing new life into a valuable but underdeveloped program will surely serve as the cornerstone of the Association's lifelong learning efforts in the future.

A variety of other events and programs were held on a diversity of subjects and areas of interest to alumni. The MIT Club of Boston held a gala in October at Boston's Top of the Hub restaurant, to welcome incoming Corporation chairman Alex d'Arbeloff '49 and his wife Brit d'Arbeloff ME '61 to their new posts as leaders of the community. MIT's oldest club, the MIT Club of Chicago, celebrated its centennial with a major event where Robert M. Metcalfe `68 and MIT President Charles M. Vest HM addressed attendees. This was among a number of visits made by Dr. Vest on behalf of the Association, other locations including northern California and Seattle. Alumni are always pleased to hear from, and discuss the current state of the Institute with our president, and he is generous with his time and energy in their regard. Besides Dr. Vest, 82 faculty and senior administrators were recruited as part of a new Speakers Bureau in the Association, in an effort to create a robust body of interested faculty who will share their areas of expertise with alumni throughout the U.S. and the world; they may be called upon to address one of 94 regional clubs, join an MIT On The Road roster, or take part in an Alumni Travel Program trip, and wherever they go, they are very well received by the alumni in attendance.

The Alumni Travel Program achieved record attendance in 1997-98, with 567 alumni and guests taking part in one (or more) of 27 trips to locations on almost every continent, including Asia, Africa and South America. Five trips took place in the U.S., including a train trip aboard the American Orient Express, which traveled from New Orleans to Chicago to the accompaniment of Professor Samuel Jay Keyser HM and his New Liberty Jazz Band. Continuing an increasingly successful trend, 80 alumni and guests traveled to Ireland for an Alumni College Abroad program, featuring less travel, but an increased lifelong learning component of seminars and guided tours; we plan to continue with the ACA component in FY 99 with trips to Burgundy and Spain.


The Association continued to produce a wide selection of high-quality publications to promote and support its ongoing activities. The promotional materials for the Tech Week and reunion activities were redesigned and mailing strategies improved, and it is clear from tracking attendance that we are attracting an increasingly broad audience to these events, including many alumni who had never before participated in their reunions.

A first-rate brochure detailing the history of this active outpost of the Institute accompanied the centennial celebration of MIT's oldest regional club, the MIT Club of Chicago. The renewed MIT On The Road program was supported by an elegantly uniform set of materials, designed to work for all locations. The successful launch of a series of planned giving luncheons was accompanied by a clear and concise brochure on giving securities to MIT; this brochure was singled out by the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education as a model for success in delivering a sometimes complicated message.

Students and parents were not neglected, as the Association continued to pursue its goal of reaching out to our "future alumni" and their families. The Guide for recent graduates was completely redesigned to more fully reflect the range of services available to alumni from the very moment they graduate. The Parents News, published three times per year, played its role in expanding the MIT family by keeping parents up to date on their concerns: a recent issue included an interview with the newly-appointed director of the Career Services Office; a "Campus Round-Up" with updates on tuition costs; commencement planning; and a save-the-date briefing on October's Family Weekend plans. The Enterprise Forum used its Forum Focus to highlight its extensive programming features by publishing the question-and-answer portions of its satellite broadcast events, as well as keeping its nationwide network of volunteers well briefed on best practices from a variety of chapters. The Alumni Travel Program published its second annual edition of the MIT Explorer newsletter; this featured information on all trips scheduled for 1998, along with articles written by faculty members planning to accompany those trips, as well as MIT On The Road previews.


The areas of information services, personnel and operations continued to provide strong support to the many activities of the Association, including Technology Review. Information services staff were active on a number of fronts, preparing for conversion of the alumni database from a mainframe to client/server environment. The data entry staff were trained early as "power users," in order to be able to test and verify the new system; the entire Alumni Information Services staff migrated to an NT platform, and Macintosh servers were replaced with an NT server, which simplifies maintenance, and assures that on-line reporting from the new system will be easy and efficient. Hundreds of vital reports were converted to the new programming language and printing issues were examined and resolved in a timely fashion. Policies, procedures and training guidelines were created for the new system, and will be used by staff members in the Association, as well as by staff in our partner offices of Resource Development and the Office of the Recording Secretary to ensure operational consistency among the owners of the new database.

Staffing issues were more challenging than usual, with the redesign and re-launch of Technology Review accompanied by a significant reorganization of the editorial staff. Ultimately, seven staff left as a result of the reorganization and others for their own reasons, while the business staff of the magazine was expanded. In all, 14 new editors, circulation, marketing and advertising sales staff were added to the masthead in support of the magazine's bold new venture. There were 15 new hires throughout the rest of the Association, and 14 staff members were recognized for exceptional contribution through promotions.

More information about the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

William J. Hecht

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98