MIT - then and now

I recently visited MIT on the occasion of my 40th reunion, class of '82, you do the math. That's me pictured above on the right as close as I could get to the "man and bunny" sculpture. Reunion weekends coincide with MIT's commencement, so the Killian Court was full of chairs and mostly off limits to visitors during the time of my visit.

The actual name of that sculpture is Three-piece Reclining Figure, Draped by Henry Moore. I'm not sure why John and I called it "man and bunny" or why one of the few pictures I have of John from our MIT days is of him standing stiffly next to it, but I have fond memories of hanging out and sitting near that sculpture which was a relatively recent addition to Killian Court in our undergrad days.

As undergrads, John and I lived in Senior House at MIT. Our names can be found on a plaque of Holman Entry Chairs* (*Lynn was the first female). (See Photo) Our names are there for 1980. Senior House, built in 1916, was the first dormitory at MIT. The physical building (and the address) have changed since we were there. A big renovation in the mid 1990s changed the layout from 6 separate vertical entries: Ware, Atkinson, Runkle, Holman, Nichols, and Crafts to a building with connected floors running across the whole. The entrance was moved around the corner from 4 Ames Street to 70 Amherst Street. Alas, the institute decided to close the house in 2017.


A few old pics from our undergrad days:

Top three are of me: one standing outside Holman, the entry where we lived, me sitting on the bench outside Runkle in the Senior House Courtyard, and me up on the Senior House roof, which had a nice view of Boston. John is reading a big book, possibly Gravitation on my old couch, the one I bought from Barry Nalebuff for $20. And that's a picture of John anchoring the SH crew team (the beer drinking version of crew) around 1978. He entered MIT as a 16-year old freshman, so was probably underage when he anchored the "Moosecranks".


And, the remains of Senior House, May 2022

The building that used to be Senior House now seems to be referred to just by its street address, 70 Amherst. I think it now houses graduate students. It is gated and locked so I could only peer in from the outside. The concrete benches remain outside Runkle, and you can see the cut limbs of the tree that used to hold the beloved tire swing. I walked around the back side and noticed the fire escape that used to be outside my window has been removed. Funny, but I don't remember what the house looked like from the Amherst Street side. That was the "back" side of the house prior to 1990. But, now it's the front with a main entrance.


Across the river, 1982 vs 2022

I couldn't access the SH roof in 2022, but the view across the river is remarkably similar considering how much things have changed on the Cambridge side of the Charles. Senior House is hidden among the trees next to the red brick building that used to be Ashdown House. I recognize the Green Building and Walker Memorial, but wow, where did all those other buildings come from.

Harvard Bridge - Smoots are still there!


Along the infinite corridor

Lecture Hall 10-250, Materials Science, and LSC

I walked along the infinite corridor and noted that it felt shorter than I remember. The whole campus generally felt smaller than I remember it. Was I just an awe-struck teenager when I arrived on campus back in 1978? Is that why it felt so big and grand? Living on the east side of campus, it seemed a lengthy trek to walk over to the west side - an occasional need to reach the 24-hour coffee house in the Student Center. I don't think that is there anymore. There's now a Dunkin' Donuts in the Student Center, and it was closed the one time I visited.

I poked my head into 10-250. I remember taking a freshman calculus course in there, taught by Frank Morgan. The reunion held something called The Tech Games in that space. There was a paper airplane contest followed by a trivia contest between different reunion classes. It should have been fun, but was poorly organized and confused, but the class of '82 came in 2nd place.

Doors on the Materials Science offices look unchanged after 40 years. Some of the stuff in that materials lab could have been there as well. And, LSC still exists. I joined that club and got to see movies for free during my undergrad days.


The daily path I took to classes from Senior House and past Calder's Big Sail is now called Gray Way. Paul Gray was MIT president when I was an undergrad, and his house was right next door to Senior House.

On a walk around outside the main campus buildings, I stumbled across a small courtyard with a descendant of Newton's Apple Tree.


Around Cambridge




Xinjiang or Bust from 1991

I found this old clipping from MIT class notes in Technology Review. This is possibly the only time John sent something in for the class notes. I wrote in once more recently about curling silver medals at Club Nationals. [MIT Technology Review, May/Jun 2018]

I wore my 40+ year old sport death t-shirt during the reunion. The logo is also commemorated on one of the warm room chairs at the Ardsley Curling Club.


The Fleming Cannon at MIT - April 2006

A couple years after we moved to New York, there was a funny prank pulled by MIT students. They "stole" the Fleming Cannon from Caltech and put it next to the Green Building at MIT. The cannon was a special item for Fleming House, one of the 7 Caltech undergrad houses. So there were 6 other undergrad houses, our own Blacker House included, that were cheering for MIT in this prank. It motivated John and I to drive up for a Cambridge visit. The brass rat on the barrel was a nice touch!



Misc Links


Lynn Garry Salmon <>{

Last updated: June 17, 2022