Tech Reunions holds the distinction of MIT’s largest single gathering of alumni. This year, MIT welcomed more than 3,500 alumni and guests to campus, June 7-10, for festivities that included more than 150 events, including Tech Night at Pops, Technology Day, and Toast to Tech. Alumni from classes ending in “3” and “8” were feted during the weekend, which was punctuated by announcements of record-setting reunion fundraising efforts.
Here’s a rundown of the weekend’s biggest moments.
Tech Night at Pops
Tech Reunions weekend kicked off with a full house of MIT alumni, friends, and family at Boston’s Symphony Hall for the 121st Tech Night at Pops. Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Keith Lockhart set the tone for the evening, which featured a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, including a one-night-only screening of a 15-minute film presented by Oscar-winning special effects guru Doug Trumbull.
After the Pops, alumni from all reunion years and their guests gathered on campus for a lively late-night Pops Encore Party.
Alumni Association President Hyun-A C. Park '83, MCP '85 and the 50th reunion Class of 1968 led the MIT Commencement procession into Killian Court. In keeping with Institute tradition, the class becomes the latest to join the Cardinal and Gray Society.
The Commencement address was given by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who told MIT graduates that the greatest opportunities are for humans, not technology. Watch Sandberg’s Commencement address.
Attendees filled Kresge Auditorium to hear about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Your Health with five MIT faculty and alumni exploring both the promises of AI in addressing medical and biological needs and the daunting challenges that may lie ahead.
The program was moderated by Will Knight, MIT Technology Review senior editor for AI. The faculty panelists included Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Dina Katabi SM ’99, PhD ’03, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Computer Science and director of the Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing at MIT; Pattie Maes, professor and academic head of the MIT Program in Media Arts and Sciences and head of MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces research group; and Phillip A. Sharp, Institute professor and member of the Department of Biology and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Another panelist was medical expert Konstantina Stankovic ’92, PhD ’98, associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, Sheldon and Dorothea Buckler chair in otolarynoglogy, attending neurotologic surgeon and the director of the Molecular Neuro-otology and Biotechnology Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Watch the talks from technology day luncheon.
Technology Day Luncheon
Another hallmark moment for Reunions is the presentation by the classes of their Reunion Class Gifts to MIT President L. Rafael Reif in support of MIT’s mission to make a better world. In total, $159,871,599.60 was raised from all reunion classes, which included several record-breaking totals.
Records set for dollars given:
- Class of 1948 with $4,763,069.59
- Class of 1958 with $53,357,685.34
- Class of 1968 with $25,788,218.02
- Class of 1973 with $12,970,121.54
- Class of 1978 with $28,465,045.55
- Class of 1983 with $14,168,709.05
In addition, the Class of 1968 set a participation record of 56.96 percent.
The Bonny Kellermann ’72 and Bob Ferrara ’67 Tech Challenge Games
The fan-favorite games, which were renamed last year in honor of the eponymous alumni creators of the contests, featured an afternoon of MIT-style competitions, including trivia, a poetry contest, and a paper-airplane-building competition. This year’s winning team was a combination of the Class of 1978 and the Class of 1983.
Many other events included sailing, classmate speaker programs, and the Family Maker Fair, an outdoor event where families and children applied Mens et Manus with projects like a dino dig, LEGOs, and Tinker Toys as well as food trucks.
Toast to Tech
A weekend highlight, the Toast to Tech party on Saturday evening drew a large crowd. The event featured live music, which brought everyone out on the dance floor—from new graduates to members of the Class of 1948, as MIT CEO Whitney T. Espich and Tim the Beaver joined together to toast their milestones.
No Tech Reunions weekend would be complete without the Sunday morning Reunion Row on the Charles River. This year’s winning team was from the Class of 1973 with second place going to the Class of 1968. Following the announcement of the winners, there was a special ceremony to dedicate a Class of 1963 Crew Coach Launch. The fundraising effort, led by Bob Vernon `63, included gifts from other members the Class of 1963, other mates who might have rowed in the same boats, and a few friends of crew.