The biggest alumni celebration of the year, Tech Reunions welcomed more than 3,500 alumni and guests to MIT’s campus, June 8-11. The festivities included more than 150 events, including the 120th Tech Night at Pops, Technology Day, and Toast to Tech.
Tech Night at Pops
This year’s Tech Reunions weekend kicked off with a lively celebration at the MIT-centric Tech Night at Pops. Since the event was on a Friday night, rather than its usual Thursday, many more alumni in town for reunions were able to attend and there was a strong showing from the younger classes.
This year's soloist, Sylvain Carpentier '17, who received his PhD in mathematics, was the first MIT graduate student to perform with the pops for reunions. Post-pops celebrations returned with great success, as alumni and friends reconvened back on campus for a late-night Pops Encore Party and other class-specific events.
Alumni Association President Nicolas Chammas SM ’87 and the 50th reunion Class of 1967 led the MIT Commencement procession into Killian Court. The Commencement address was given by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who encouraged the audience to use technology to serve humanity. Watch Cook’s Commencement address.
Tech Day 2017, Designing Life to Spec: Addressing the World’s Challenges in Health and Sustainability, featured seven faculty working to answer the question: can scientists design life to spec? The program was moderated by Noubar Afeyan PhD ’87 and panelists included Associate Professor Eric Alm; Professor Angela Belcher; Professor Linda Griffith; Professor Darrell Irvine PhD ’00; Associate Professor Jacquin Niles ’94, PhD ’01; Professor Ron Weiss SM ’94, PhD ’01; and Associate Professor Feng Zhang. Watch all of the talks on YouTube.
At the Technology Day luncheon, the Alumni Association announced total reunion giving from all classes at $124,003,313.04, including 67 percent participation from the Class of 2017. Records were set by many classes in dollars and participation, including Class of 2002 with $794,088.14, Class of 1997 with 32.66 percent participation, Class of 1962 with $86,637,054.24, Class of 1957 with $12,961,843.76, and Class of 1942 with $998,031.04. Gifts received by June 30 will be counted toward final reunion and annual totals.
Many other events included sailing, Shakespeare Ensemble—King John hosted by the Class of 1977, 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.
Tech Challenge Games
Tech Challenge Games paid tribute to the two founders of the long-standing event, Bonny Kellermann ’72 and Bob Ferrara ’67, who were celebrating their own reunions. The two were given an award of special recognition and appreciation for their creation and dedicated leadership of the Tech Challenge Games from 1992-2017. And the future, the contests will be named the Bonny Kellermann and Bob Ferrara Tech Challenge Games. This year’s winner was the Class of 1982, with the Class of 1992 coming in second place and the Class of 1972 in third.
Toast to Tech
A weekend highlight, the Toast to Tech party on Saturday evening, drew a large crowd. The event featured a live band, which brought everyone out on the dance floor—from new graduates to members of the Class of 1947.
No Tech Reunions weekend would be complete without the Sunday morning Reunion Row on the Charles River. This year’s competition, the winning team was made up of alumni from the 1970s, second place was 1992, followed by 1997 and 1962.