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Association of Alumni and Alumnae of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

First Alumni Association President and Secretary, 1876

Elected in 1876: First Alumni Association President, Robert H. Richards '68, and Secretary, Charles R. Cross '70

In 1875, seven years after the first class graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1868, an Alumni Association was formally set up to foster contact between the Institute and its graduates. Members of the class of 1873 first discussed a formal organization at their first annual dinner in 1874, leading to the formation via a Constitution in 1875 “to further the well-being of the Institute and its graduates by increasing the interest of members in the school and in each other.”  A small Executive Committee was established and first met in January 1897 to oversee the general interests of the Alumni Association. A broader Alumni Council was created by a revision of the By-laws of the Association in 1909 that provided a mechanism for closer collaboration with the Association of Class Secretaries, which then served as an adjunct group to the Alumni Council. The first meeting of the Alumni Council was held on May 12, 1909, and the 401st and last meeting of the Alumni Council was held on May 28, 1968. On July 1, 1968, it was reconstituted as the Alumni Advisory Council. (see note 1)

The Association of Class Secretaries was formed as a distinct group in 1896 to promote class spirit and to systematize all matters pertaining to class organization and record.  This group initiated several activities which continue today. The Association of Class Secretaries formed a three member Committee on Publications, made up of Arthur D. Little, class of 1885; C. Frank Allen, class of 1872; and James P. Munroe, class of 1882. They conceived the plan to publish a quarterly alumni magazine. The first issue of Technology Review was published in January 1899.  In 1910, the magazine began to be published monthly during the academic year.  Oversight of Technology Review was later turned over to the Alumni Association.  Another project of the Class Secretaries was the tradition of the annual sponsorship of Technology Night at the Pops. The Class Secretaries were also important in organizing and focusing alumni support against the Harvard-MIT merger proposed by MIT President Henry Pritchett.

The Executive Committee last met on June 11, 1968, and ceased to exist on June 30, 1968, as specified by the amendments to the Constitution and By-laws.  Most of its functions were taken over by the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, which first met in October 1968. The Board of Directors sets policy for the Association, and is overseen by an Executive Vice President.  A National Selection Committee nominates alumni and alumnae for appointment to the MIT Corporation, under whose by-laws at least one-third of term members must be alumni or alumnae.  In 1990 the name of the Association was changed from the Alumni Association to the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(1) Executive Committee and Alumni Council Minutes, AC 24, MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections.