MIT has reason to be extraordinarily proud of its accomplished, creative, philanthropic alumni, whose achievements have shaped the world in profound ways over the past 150 years.
Alumni contributions strengthen MIT’s governance, community outreach, and financial health, as well. Alumni occupy 78 percent of the seats on the MIT Corporation and at least 33 percent of its visiting committees; they interview prospective students and bring educational resources to their communities; and each year they donate hundreds of millions of dollars. In the early 20th century, alumni pledged $200,000 and voted three to one against a plan to allow Harvard to acquire MIT, narrowly preserving the independence of the Institute. Today, more than 9,500 alumni volunteer their services for the Institute each year, with many serving as class and club officers, educational counselors, fundraisers, and mentors.
The first female alumna, Ellen Swallow Richards, graduated in 1873 and helped establish an MIT lab dedicated to teaching women chemistry. Less than a decade later, Robert Taylor became the Institute's first black alumnus; he became a vocal proponent of black education around the country and at MIT.
The MIT Alumni Association, founded in 1875, hosted 164 sesquicentennial events on five continents, including 55 Toast to IAP gatherings, 47 Charter Day events, and 14 Days of Service. The Class of 1954 sponsored the Lobby 7 design competition, which invited students to imagine the completion of the original plans for that space, as well as a performance on campus of Israel in Egypt by the Handel and Haydn Society. Nearly 8,000 people gathered in Killian Court for the MIT150 finale, Toast to Tech, which was cohosted by the Association and the Office of Institute Events. View images of MIT alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends celebrating the spirit of the sesquicentennial.
At the Houston zoo
Underwater in Cyprus
At the Great Wall of China
At the Coliseum in Rome