Take Me Back to Tech

I had the privilege to visit Cambridge and participate in the event that marks a significant milestone for the students who endured the hard work, long hours, and years in order to earn a Bachelor's / Master's / PhD degree at MIT.

It was like stepping back to my own Commencement, 22 years ago - perfect weather, Killian Court flanked by blooming rhododendrons, the strains of the processional marches by the Brass Ensemble, the happy stream of graduates filling the green courtyard.

I had only intended to meet up with members of the a capella singing group I was a member of back when I was a student. Each Commencement, the Chorallaries of MIT sing the National Anthem and the MIT Songs, Oh Come All Ye of MIT and Take Me Back to Tech. Alumni are invited to participate and each year I would read my invitation with a small yearning, knowing that getting back to MIT for that specific day would be nearly impossible. But this year, I would be in Cambridge - I just didn't let anyone know until the last minute (like 12 hours before the event), so I didn't expect to be allowed to participate in the actual performance.

I wandered on to the MIT campus from Kendall Square T Station, a distant memory telling my feet where to go - the path led me towards the Chemical Engineering Building - shaped in a 30-60-90 triangle, and then the enormous Green Building emerged from the side:
The Green and Landau Buildings

Both buildings were designed by IM Pei. The Green Building stands as the tallest building on campus and maybe in Cambridge.
Towering Green Building MIT

As usual, the wind in the vicinity of the Green Building blew stiffly:
Windy Alcove

I met up with several current and alumni members of the Chorallaries in the Building 10 lobby. They were all so nice and Jamal, the current director, insisted it would be fine for me to sing with the group (even though I was quite undressed for the occasion). I used one of the extra "commencement passes" to get past security and back stage.

Present and Past

Behind the main stage, you get a unique view of the proceedings:
View from Back Stage

The Alma Mater

This have changed so much over the last 22 years - the entire event is webcast on huge screens in Killian Court and throughout campus. Singing the National Anthem was surreal yet fun.

After the Commencement ceremony, I visited Baker House, the dormitory I live in. This building was designed by Alvar Alto and shaped in a "W", with a majority of the rooms facing the Charles River. I lived for 4 years with a fabulous view of the Boston skyline.

Baker House
I was a little disappointed that the door up to the roof deck was locked. That's where the best view of the city is. Oh well, I was able to take some nice pictures of Boston from the street.

View from the Bridge Boston

I walked back through Lobby 7 and then Killian Court to capture the Great Dome:
Lobby 7 MIT

The Great Dome

Where the strains of Take Me Back to Tech ran through my head:

I wish that I were back again at Tech on Boylston Street,
Dressed in my dinky uniform so dapper and so neat.
I'm crazy after calculus, I never had enough;
It's hard to be dragged away so young,
It was horribly awfully tough!
Hurrah for Technology, 'ology 'ology oh,
Glorious old Technology, 'ology 'ology oh!
Back in the days that were free from care in the 'ology varsity shop,
With nothing to do but analyze air in an anemometrical top.
The differentiation of the trigonometric pow'rs
The constant pi that made me sigh in those happy days of ours.
Hurrah for Technology, 'ology 'ology oh,
Glorious old Technology, 'ology 'ology oh!
Take me back on a special train to that glorious institute,
I yearn for the inspiration of a technological toot.
I'd shun the quizzical physical profs the chapel and all that,
But how I'd love to go again on a scientific bat.
Hurrah for Technology, 'ology 'ology oh,
Glorious old Technology, 'ology 'ology oh!
C-H-N-O-L-O-G and Y comes after G
(and what does that spell?)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology!

MaggieGem  – (June 5, 2011 at 4:35 PM)  

Looks a grand trip back in time, lovely photos!

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