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MIT Class of 1967 President’s Letter

 Celebrating ’67 Firsts!

Hello ’67 Classmates

It has been a privilege to be the President of the remarkable Class of 1967 – MIT’s 100th graduating class – for these past several years. The position affords numerous opportunities to be in touch with many engaging, quality people - our ’67 classmates. This role also provides a special vantage point for a favorite pastime – MIT history. In fact, in this letter, I would enjoy focusing on our special and often quirky contributions to Institute history and lore. Overall, we have done quite well!

One very impressive fact of our Class’s contribution in MIT history was one about which almost all of us have been blissfully unaware until very recently; we are MIT’s 100th graduating class. Though MIT was chartered in 1861, the Civil War delayed the start of classes several years. The year 1868 marked the first MIT graduation, with 15 young adults including one Bobbie Richards. Richards was an MIT “lifer”, serving as professor of mineralogy at MIT for 45 years, during which time he wooed and married an even more exceptional person, Ellen Swallow ’73, MIT’s first female graduate. We are indebted to classmates Bob Howard and John Ross for bringing the 100th item to our attention. In particular, John spent a great deal of time in the MIT Archives tracing this story. As the 50th Reunion goers will notice, we even had a custom lapel crest created, and it is quite suitable for pinning on our new Red Blazers.

Quite apart from the pure serendipity of being members of MIT’s 100th graduating class, we have been blessed to be an integral part of Institute Life during two very interesting periods. The first was of course our undergraduate years, and the second is right now, as we gather to celebrate our 50th year and also connect with our successors, the Class of 2017, MIT’s 150th graduating class.

We started as a fairly typical class of the 1960s, earnestly shuttling in the battleship gray environs of the Infinite Corridor. America was preoccupied with the Cold War and we were in training to help. It was a simpler time, before the tumult of the 60s and Vietnam.

But we did manage some “firsts” even back then. Thanks especially to Giorgio Piccagli, who was Class President back in our day, we know that we were no ordinary class. We won Field Day in both our freshman and sophomore years, a rare feat. In fact, Giorgio noted that in our sophomore year we had the highest Field Day turnout ever recorded - 430 of us, almost 50% of the class as we swamped the Class of ‘68, which could only muster 320. Giorgio also was proud of the fact that our class was in the black (i.e. profitable) throughout. Back then the big ticket item was the Junior Prom. Today, the investment in the 50th Reunion is considerably larger, but thankfully our Class Treasurer Joel Shwimer has continued the tradition of financial solvency ever since.

Even before graduation, classmate Allan Gottlieb started the “Puzzle Corner” column in Technology Review magazine and it has remained a staple ever since. With the completion of the first tower of McCormick Hall, more undergraduate women were admitted. This happy fact allowed Barbara (Desmond) Gilchrest to recruit a number of women to form the first MIT Cheerleading team, another tradition that still thrives today. And MIT’s long connection and deep affection with the late Chuck Berry began back in our undergraduate years. We revere his memory.

In more recent times, we have managed some other important milestones. One significant tradition we helped establish was the Tech Challenge Games at our 25th Reunion back in 1992. The Games are an intellectual and physical competition among the returning Reunion classes, kind of like the Olympics but with a distinctly MIT flavor. We won the inaugural Games and in fact swept every contest, the only team ever to do so. Since 1992 – every year for the past 25 years - our Class has donated the championship medals shown at right. These are given to all the members of the winning class and their family members.

Our later reunions have also set benchmarks. At our 40th back in 2007, we had record attendance. Though that record has since been eclipsed, our efforts were recognized by a Presidential Citation from the MIT Alumni Association. For the 45th, our Reunion Committee collaborated with Bob Simha ’57, who led the MIT Planning Office for four decades, on a special map and campus tour called “then and now”, which highlighted what survived from our Institute years. To get ready for the 50th, Jim Swanson and a merry band of west coast classmates created the wonderful “California Dreamin’” excursion on the Left Coast. Our new class newsletter, the Red Blazer, was developed by Ron Gomes Casseres and Bob Howard to promote “Dreamin’” and more. No other class has such a regular and informative communication. In fact, the Red Blazer was featured at the latest Alumni Leadership Conference as a model for class communications.

And for the 50th Reunion itself (besides having a great time!), we are partnering with the Class of 2017 to populate a time capsule to be buried next to Building 10. This has been a labor of love and a walk down memory lane for Stan Rose, Andy Egendorf, George Sacerdote, John Rudy, and a cast of assorted classmates who have guided this special effort. The capsule is to be opened by the class of 2017 at their 50th in the year 2067.

Our special connection with the 2017s began in the fall of their freshman year back in 2013 and has grown ever since. Liana Ilutzi, the 2017 Class President and her fellow class officers enthusiastically embraced the “Class Connection” idea. Liana is the one in blue below, surrounded by a collection of ‘17s and ‘67s. Together, we jointly sponsored five events during their undergraduate years at the Institute. And we even designed our own shown in paragraph above. The 2017s also convinced us that we should collaborate on some kind of community service project. The “10,000 hour Community Service Challenge” was the result. John Ross initially led the ’67 side of this wonderful collaboration, and Frank Walsh has since assumed that role. As of this writing, thanks to the service hours donated by the 2017s and many of own classmates, we have surpassed that goal four times over. Well done!

It has truly has been an honor to have been a part of this group and to have witnessed the many achievements of our Class and classmates over the years.


Bob Ferrara

President Class of 1967


Last Chance to buy 50th Reunion Class of 1967 Hats

The class is currently offering the remaining limited edition men's and women's souvenir 50th reunion hats (pictured above) on a first come, first served basis for $15 each. If you want to buy a hat, please write a check to "MIT class of 1967" and send it to Bob Ferrara, MIT Class of '67 Hat, 10 Wachusett Drive, Action, MA 01720.


How will our 50th Reunion enhance our class legacy at MIT?

Our Class was the FIRST to win the Reunion Challenge Games (in ’92) and the sponsor of medals ever since.

Our Class was the FIRST to create a 4 year-connection to another Class: the 1967/2017 Class connections program.

Our Class was the FIRST to customize a lapel crest by adding that we are MIT’s 100th Class.

Our Class was the FIRST to have a customized Campus Tour created and featured in our 40th reunion.

Our Class was the FIRST to publish a quarterly Bulletin, our Red Blazer

Our Class won a Lobdell Award for our 40th Reunion.

Our Classmate Allen Gottlieb was the FIRST to create a Puzzle Corner in the Technology Review and maintain it for fifty years.

Our Class President Bob Ferrara was the FIRST to receive the Karl Taylor Compton Prize, the James N. Murphy Award and the Bronze Beaver Award for over 50 years of service to the MIT community.

Your input and contributions are critical to enhance our class legacy.

Click here to view our 50th Reunion Time Capsule project.

MIT's 100th graduating class!

The MIT150 events in 2011 were a vivid reminder of MIT's origins, starting with the charter passage in April, 1861. A bit less known is that classes did not start until four years later, after a difficult period of fund-raising, organizing and building, all of which played out with the Civil War in the background. It was not until 1868 that MIT actually had its first graduates. However, from that beginning, over an unbroken span of 145 consecutive years MIT students have continued to graduate and to join each class of new alumni.

Thanks to classmate Bob Howard, the Reunion Committee began to take note of these facts. Bob had just read Matthew Pearl's new mystery thriller "The Technologists" about the Institute's very first graduating class in 1868. As we did the arithmetic, it became clear that the Class of 1967 is the 100th annual class of graduates from MIT. Interestingly, none of us recalls being aware of this in 1967. On one level this is just a curious MIT factoid. At the same time we looked forward and observed that in 2017, at our 50th Reunion, we will be privileged to participate at Commencement with the Class of 2017, which will be MIT's 150th consecutive graduating class. To us, that seems like an occasion worth commemorating.

Below is Bobby Richards' diploma from that Class of 1868. He was the first president of the MIT Alumni Association and the husband of MIT's first female graduate, the renowned Ellen Swallow Richards. Both are important characters in Matthew Pearl?s engaging historical novel.

 Bobby Richards diploma

25th Reunion Photo Rediscovered!

While cleaning out a drawer last April just before the 45th Reunion, Chet Sandberg and his wife rediscovered this wide angle photo from our 25th Reunion. How timely! See if you can identify some of these folks. Here is a link to the compressed version and here is a link to the full 1MB photo.

Our 1963 Freshman Picture Book Photos

Just before our 40th Reunion, Stan Rose scanned all of our 1963 Freshman picture book photos. So if you wanted to see what we looked like 40+ years ago, please open the .PDF files below. (Please note, these are big files, 2-4MB each).
Men - John Acevedo to Richard Cutler
Men - Mike Daily to Harvey Golomb
Men - Lewis Golovin to Mike Mark
Women! - All 35 Coeds in the Class of 1967
Men - Avram Markowitz to Chris Scott
Men - Mike Scott to David Wilcox
Men - Harald Wilhelmsen to Mike Zuteck

Thanks to Stan!

Maps of MIT '67 alumni home addresses

US Map showing locations of MIT alumni This map indicates the location of MIT Class of 1967 alumni home address locations. We are working on getting a world map that goes beyond the USA. Thanks to Peter Muise and Tony Tavares of the MIT Alumni Office for providing this map, which is also included as an Adobe Acrobat attachment.
Class of 1967 Home Addess Locations


51st reunion planned for June 7,8 & 9, 2018 in Cambridge, MA.
We had such a great time at our 50th reunion that the class reunion committee decided not to wait for five years for the next reunion. Thus we are now planning our 51st reunion in 2018. For those who came to the 50th reunion, here is another chance to wear your red blazer. For those who missed the 50th reunion, come & celebrate. Click here for the details of the 51st reunion.

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