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Fund raising for clock tower no appropriate

I was very disappointed with a note which I received earlier in the week from the president of the Class of 1990. The note from Joseph R. Babiec Jr. '90 was a pledge to all graduating members of the Class of 1990 to contribute to the Senior Gift fund, for the construction of a $30,000 clock tower. Although this letter was not written on behalf of members of the Class of 1990, I believe that there are at least a few of my colleagues who share my opinion that the proposal for this Senior Gift is not at all appropriate.

While the attempt to reach a record-breaking goal of $30,000 is somewhat fair, I disagree with the idea of the clock tower as being the appropriate gift to MIT. Our "gift" to the Institute is indirectly related to our future contributions to society. MIT graduates have always made significant contributions to society.

By accomplishing such tasks which benefits society, we have fulfilled the ambitions of the Institute, that is to provide an environment of education and learning which cultivates excellence and leadership of individuals at all levels of society. The worldwide recognition of MIT is not gained through expensive and somewhat artistic structures around our campus buildings, but is achieved almost exclusively through the contributions of its alumni/ae to society.

Personally, I would be very embarrassed to announce at graduation that our class had achieved a record-breaking participation in raising $30,000 for the construction of the clock tower, the Senior Gift from the Class of 1990. Instead, I would be more honored to inform the Institute that we had raised the same amount of money to establish a fund which would award recognitions to members of the MIT community whose contributions have enriched the environment of the Institute, and society as well. A simple plaque with the following words could stand at one of the main corridors of MIT.

This plaque was presented by the graduating members of the Class of 1990 as its Senior Gift to MIT in recognition of the individuals who have made significant and important contributions which have benefited society. It is our hope that similar contributions in the future which benefit society will be recognized and appreciated. To all present, and future members of the MIT community, we hope that this plaque will serve as a reminder of the responsibilities which we have towards the advancement and the enrichment of society.

The remainder of the funds which have been raised can instead be used to establish the Class of 1990 gifts and prizes to these outstanding individuals of our community. For instance, if we used around $5000 for the plaque, we would have a remainder of $25,000 in funds. This amount of money can be used instead to present awards to individuals of the MIT community. If we allocate $5000 each year for such awards, the funds can be used for a period of five years. By our fifth class reunion, we should be able to establish another fund which would continue this class tradition.

Our decision will reflect that we have the foresight to recognize the importance of contributions by such individuals/parties to society. Such a move will also remind us of such similar roles that we are going to take in society, roles of great responsibilities, roles of future leaders in society. So please, do not bring the clock tower to campus. Show someone else instead that their contributions to society have been greatly appreciated.

Choong Huei Seow '90->