An MIT Alumni Association Publication
Guest blogger: Bob Ferrara ’67, senior director for strategic planning, communications, and alumni relations, Division of Student Life

L to R: Ray Magliozzi '72, Ron Faccenda '68, Stan Zdonik '70, and George Swift '69 pose.
L to R: Ray Magliozzi '72, Ron Faccenda '68, Stan Zdonik '70, and George Swift '69 pose at the NRSA reunion.

Perhaps the most exceptional of all the living group receptions hosted at Tech Reunions 2010 was the event organized by alumni of an organization that has not existed for the last 25 years. Alumni from the mid-80s and earlier may remember the Non-Resident Student Association, which was headquartered in a row house on Memorial Drive next to McCormick Hall. NRSA was the commuters' "fraternity," a thriving bunch known not only for their great intramural hockey teams but also for their excellent parties. Alumni from the 1950s and before knew this group as the 5:15 Club, from the departure time of an important train from North Station. When the group was first organized back in the early 1930s, almost a third of MIT students commuted from home.

Thanks to the determined efforts of past NRSA presidents Allen Clark ’63, SM ’65, PhD ’69; Steve Corman ’58, SM ’61; Dave Williams ’61; and others, a hugely successful reunion was organized this June. Some 40 NRSA alums (from as far away as Italy) attended, including the renowned Magliozzi brothers, Tom ’58 and Ray ’72, of “Car Talk” fame. Both grew up near MIT in East Cambridge.

View photos from the event.

Building on their successful reunion, the 5:15/NRSA alumni have created a new Web site, written the first history of the organization, and even compiled a near complete list of all past presidents of the group. Allen, his wife, Claudia, Steve, and Dave did a lot of homework to find contact information, but if for some reason you or a friend were missed, please contact the group. Future reunions are definitely in the works.

For history buffs, here's a look at the group's lifespan:

1933–1959: The 5:15 Club, an organization serving student commuters, is founded.

1956–1959: A second group, the Commuter Association, is formed with offices on the second floor of Walker Memorial.

1959–1966: The two groups combine to form the Non-Resident Student Association (NRSA). They are recognized as an Independent Living Group with offices at 318 Memorial Drive.

1966–1986: The group moves to 311 Memorial Drive to make way for McCormick Hall expansion and is then disbanded due to low number of commuters.