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MIT and Alpha Delta Phi and the Boston Globe

MIT is celebrating its 150th birthday this month.  For the last week, the Boston Globe and have been hyping up a special insert in today’s Globe, The 150 Ways MIT Has Made a Difference.

A few notes from the insert:

  • Colin Angle (#7) is a fraternity brother, as is Eran Egozy (#90), as is Jim Bellingham (#111), as is John Underkoffler (#147), as are the half-dozen mentioned in #140.
  • Not a single other fraternity was mentioned in the Globe – we got #140.
  • Re: #140, the “not Animal House” reference is both right and wrong.  The real Animal House was another chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, the Dartmouth chapter in the 60s.  That chapter has since gone local and is known simply as “AD”.
  • #140 left a couple notable VCs out, including Mark Siegel of Menlo Ventures and Sameer Ghandi of Accel.

What does it all mean?  That’s tough to say.  But I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve created a culture of entrepreneurship that spans more than 30 years.  I’m very proud of it.  We’ve built something special, and it’s very nice to have that recognized by an institution like the Globe.

I know that I did a lot of growing up in the fraternity.  I work pretty hard to keep that experience alive for incoming students.  Hopefully they can get the rewarding experience that I did.  And maybe I’ll appear in that list some day.

The relevant parts of the article:

  • Number 7: The new robots: When they started iRobot Corp. in 1990, MIT grads Helen Greiner and Colin Angle knew they wanted to build robots; they’d figure out their business model later. Did they ever. The Roomba vacuum arrived in 2002, the first truly functional robot to find its way into American households. Last year it earned iRobot more than $400 million in revenue. On a more serious note, iRobot developed a reconnaissance robot for the military. PackBot acts as eyes and ears for troops and neutralizes roadside bombs, screens vehicles and people for devices, and goes into caves. iRobot has built about 3,500 PackBots for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • 90: Ticket to Ride: Why would somebody go to MIT for a bachelor’s degree in music?  Alex Rogopulos did, and, along with musician and engineering student Eran Egozy, the pair launced Harmonix Music Systems.  After a slow start, the Cambridge company in 2005 published Guitar Hero, which came with a plastic instrument and let anybody pretend to play lead guitar in a rock band.  It became one of the decade’s biggest game and the more advanced Rock Band game that followed helped Harmonix rack up $3 billion in sales . . .
  • 111: Underwater robots: Anyone who’s seen “Titanic” knows how undersea robots helped revolutionize exploration. Submersibles such as Alvin and Jason have helped discover everything from sunken treasure to species. None of this would have been possible were it not for the pioneering effort of the MIT Sea Grant Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Laboratory. In 1988 engineer Jim Bellingham created a 3-foot-long robot named Sea Squirt and sent it exploring the depths of the Charles River.
  • 140: Not “Animal House”: Only at MIT does a single fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, produce venture capitalists (Brad Feld, founder of the TechStars program for aspiring entrepreneurs), videogame innovators (“Rock Band” developer Eran Egozy), public company CEOs (Colin Angle of iRobot), flying car invetors (Carl Dietrich of Terrafugia), and solar power innovators (Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies).  Oracle recently paid $1 billion for ATG, a Cambridge e-commerce software company founded by, yes, two former brothers of the ADP fraternity house, Jeet Singh and Joe Chung.
  • 147: “Minority Report”: John Underkoffler graduated from MIT in 1988 and went on to become the science and technology adviser to a big Hollywood director named Steven Spielberg.  The dazzzling technology in “Minority Report’ was his team’s doing.


Comment from Jay Flynn
Time: December 13, 2011, 2:05 pm

FORMER Brother????