On May 31, the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG) held their annual dinner and business meeting at the MIT Museum. The AILG membership consists of the alumni and advisory boards involved with MIT’s Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups (FSILGs). Each year, this event brings together the alumni volunteers of the AILG Community and MIT staff to celebrate the successes of the year and recognize some special contributors to FSILG life.
This year, AILG was honored to have Provost Marty Schmidt SM ’83, PhD ’88 as their keynote speaker. Schmidt spoke of the provost’s role in handling the everyday challenges of operating a major institution. He went on to outline the Institute’s traditional and emerging strengths and its position as a globally renowned technology institution. He also spoke of the challenges brought about by deferred maintenance issues and how the AILG can partner with MIT to address them. Additionally, he commented favorably on the West Campus Village Initiative and looks forward to the participation of FSILGs in making this part of campus a lively destination.
After Provost Schmidt’s address, AILG Chair Steve Baker ’84 invited several dignitaries to help him deliver honors and recognitions. Two departing FSILG staff members, Brittany Scancarella and Kayla Lemay, were recognized for their contributions. Next, two very special alumni were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards: Rob Calhoun ’90, former president of Tau Epsilon Phi, was honored for guiding the organization through several years of physical and organizational growth, and in the process becoming of one of the two co-ed fraternities at MIT. David Latham ’61 was recognized for his three decades of service as a leader of Delta Epsilon and of the Board of Allocation of the Independent Residence Development Fund.
The final award was presented to Dick Larson ‘65 of Phi Beta Epsilon. Larson, a longtime MIT faculty member and “lifer,” received the traditional MIT tapestry for retiring as an AILG board member. He shared his appreciation to MIT and all the volunteers within AILG in a retrospective:
“I recall fondly sitting in the PBE kitchen every Thursday night with fellow pledges, trying to psyche out Friday morning’s weekly quiz–at dreaded Walker Memorial,” he said. "At nightly candlelight dinner, we would frequently ask, ‘Did you see one today?’ Then, once in a while: “Yes, today at two o’clock, right outside of Kresge!’ Wow! What were we talking about? A then-rare type of student called a co-ed!”
Although his anecdote was humorous, Larson brought attention to the progress the FSILGs have made since. “A half century later, we have near gender parity on campus,” he stated. “And these past three years on the AILG Board have allowed me to complete the circle. And for that I am very grateful. . .The fraternity, sorority, independent living group community at MIT is just as strong and important as ever, and I remain in awe of the time and dedication that many of you devote to assure the continued good health of this community.”
At the meeting’s conclusion, AILG elected two new board members. For the first time in AILG history, all nominees were women, leading to another AILG first: the new board is made up of three women and three men. Alice Leung ‘93 of Epsilon Theta was reelected to a second three-year term, and Cecilia Stuopis ’90 of Alpha Chi Omega was also elected. Steve Baker ’84 of Theta Xi, Akil Middleton ’08 of Zeta Psi, Eric Cigan ’83 of Lambda Chi Alpha, and Pamela Gannon, Secretary, ’84 of Alpha Phi will serve as continuing board members.
For a complete list of FSILG award winners, please refer to their digital program. Congratulations to all recipients, and be sure to attend the Alumni Leadership Conference in September, where Steve Baker ‘84 with receive the Bronze Beaver Award and Pam Gannon ‘84 will receive the Margaret MacVicar Award.
Written by Brenna Morrissey.