The 2014 MIT Alumni Leadership Conference—the MIT Alumni Association’s keystone event for MIT volunteers—took place on Sept. 19-20. A record 600-plus volunteers from more than 40 class years returned to campus to learn more about today’s MIT and future plans for the Institute.
The two-day conference began with an opening keynote from Professors Vladimir Bulovic and Fiona Murray, who discussed MIT’s global impact and the Institute’s growing innovation and entrepreneurial education offerings. Murray discussed MIT collaborations with Singapore and the United Kingdom, and acknowledged the role governments have in new innovations.
When discussing Maker Portfolio—an option that MIT applicants have to add additional information when they apply to MIT—Murray explained what the research end goal should be for any prospective student.
“When MIT applicants submit portfolios, they question they’re answering is ‘What have you made?’ she said. “As they progress, they should be able to answer, ‘What problem did you solve?’”
The conference's first day also featured a presentation from MIT Director of Digital Learning Sanjay Sarma and Professor Karen Willcox, who shared the final recommendations of President Reif’s Task Force on the Future of MIT Education, and TIMtalks presentations from three current MIT students, who discussed their most transformative moments at MIT.
Tiandra Ray ’15 discussed the permanent connection between students and alumni, based on the unique shared experiences of events that could only happen at MIT.
“No one understands MIT unless they’ve lived it,” she said. “Alumni, you’re connected to students much more than you think. Our relationships can transcend shared experiences and become an exchange of ideas and dreams.”
Throughout the weekend, alumni and volunteers took part in more than 40 sessions, brainstorms, walking tours, and networking events led by nearly 75 MIT alumni and students. The conference’s second day commenced with presentations by Provost Martin Schmidt SM ’83, PhD ’88, who gave a state-of-the-Institute update, and Professor John Ochsendorf, who gave attendees a history lesson on MIT’s oldest architecture, shared MIT’s plans for a centennial celebration of the Institute’s move to Cambridge in 1916, and discussed MIT’s memorial to fallen police officer Sean Collier, which he said was designed to be “an open hand over a closed fist.”
During the conference, volunteers brought the ALC discussion online in record numbers using the hashtag #mitalc. Attendees and staff posted more than 600 messages and more than 100 photos to social media.
The conference closed with the Saturday evening Leadership Awards Celebration. 23 alumni and five groups were honored for the volunteer dedication to MIT, including Sherwin Greenblatt ’62, SM ’64; R. Robert Wickham ’93, SM ’95; and Sandra Gay Yulke ’74, SM ’77, who received the Bronze Beaver Award, the highest honor that the Alumni Association bestows up on its volunteers.
On Saturday, September 20, longtime volunteer John Acevedo '67 suffered a medical emergency during an ALC session. MIT Police and emergency medical teams responded quickly and he was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, but Acevedo did not survive. Acevedo was an organizer of the Tech Challenge Games, a feature of Tech Reunions, and was vice president of the Class of 1967. Read more at MIT News.