May 2, 2011

Alumni, Coaches & Student-Athletes Celebrate 150 Years of MIT Athletics

BOSTON, Mass. -- Former Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student-athletes and current coaches and student athletes took a trip back through history in more than one way on April 10th at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. The more than 300 guests that helped celebrate the 150th Anniversary of MIT athletics were able to reconnect with old friends and teammates, meet the coaches and student-athletes that currently wear the Cardinal and Grey and peruse through the annals of MIT athletic history, through both a mural and a virtual timeline.

The event, sponsored by the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER), was part of the Institute wide celebration of MIT’s 150th birthday and was a precursor to a grand convocation that took place in the massive ballroom of the Boston convention center.

Attendees were greeted by a giant three-panel mural in the lobby, which displayed the most memorable moments of MIT’s athletics history, dating back as far as the 1890’s and stretching right up until a few weeks ago. Inside the ballroom, three interactive touch screens allowed guests the ability to move through the timeline at their own leisure and to click on the events they wanted more information about. There was also a continental breakfast and plenty of room for catching up with fellow Engineers or meeting new ones, all in the shadow of 24 banners that circled the room, representing the sports MIT sponsors.

Sophomore Stephen Freiberg served as the master of ceremonies for the program, and spoke a bit about his experience as a student-athlete. Freiberg, who served on the steering committee for the event, is a member of the men’s lightweight rowing team and serves on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

Freiberg introduced the keynote speaker, MIT alumni Michael Schoen. A former soccer player and a 1987 graduate of the school, Schoen spoke about how his experience as a student athlete and leader have been an important asset in his professional career. In addition, athletic director Julie Soriero and event steering committee chair John Benedick made remarks to those in attendance. At the end of the presentation, guests were treated to a moving legacy video that encapsulated the spirit and history of MIT athletics.

In addition, MIT honored 16 programs that were celebrating milestone anniversaries. Those programs were men’s basketball, men’s crew, cross country, fencing, men’s sailing, women’s soccer, squash, swimming and diving, women’s tennis, women’s indoor track and field, volleyball and water polo. They were recognized with patches on their sports banners and a special mention at the end of the remarks.

The event was a brief opportunity to celebrate the legacy of MIT Athletics, as its tagline states, but for those in attendance and the many more that will be able to see the timeline mural, it was really a landmark milestone for MIT athletics. The opportunity to delve into the annals of our athletic history and to pay homage to the many outstanding student-athletes, coaches and teams that have represented MIT does not come along very often, nor does the ability to bring so many generations of MIT history together in the same room.  The strong attendance of alumni, coaches and student-athletes, meticulousness planning by the steering committee and volunteers and enthusiasm of everyone involved made this a very special occasion and an event that was incredibly well received by all who were a part of it. 

Release courtesy MIT Athletic Communications


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