The Alumni Perspective
“Alumni are by far the best representatives of the Institute’s ideals, training and accomplishments, and through their contacts can exercise a vital influence on the future place of C.I.T. in American life. Reciprocally the prestige of the Institute is an invaluable asset to every alumnus.”
—Robert A. Millikan
Engineering and Science Monthly, 1943
The Caltech Board of Trustees echoed Robert Millikan’s prescient words when, in the summer of 2015, it reaffirmed a resolution stating that the success of the Institute is integrally tied to the impact of its alumni and the strength of their relationship to the Institute.
President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, then just over a year into his term, commissioned a workgroup to assess how the Institute was engaging and serving its graduates. That assessment group, composed of campus leaders, Caltech trustees, faculty, students, and alumni, spent nine months delving into the alumni experience.
As part of that effort we also reached out to you. Last year, the Institute partnered with the Caltech Alumni Association to conduct an extensive survey—our first ever to include both undergraduate and graduate alumni.
We heard from alumni across the globe, spanning multiple generations and backgrounds, in every stage of life.
We were proud to learn that the overwhelming majority of you consider attending Caltech to be a good or great decision in your life (92 percent) and that your opinion of the Institute today is good or excellent (also 92 percent).
You supplied us with other important feedback as well: You answered detailed questions with great candor about a range of topics, such as how well Caltech prepared you for your career. And you filled us in on the people who were the biggest influences on you and the programs that shaped you. You revealed the things that were important to you, such as your relationship to your mentor, lab, or House. You let us know where you felt Caltech excelled and where we had room to grow. You shared your thoughts on how Caltech could continue to help you today, and how you are willing to help your fellow alumni as well as current and future generations of students.
One central theme rang clear: You are deeply proud of your Caltech degree, and you want to be a part of building a stronger and more connected alumni network to help you and your fellow Techers thrive.
This study is an essential part of the ongoing dialogue between Caltech and its graduates. In that spirit, we are sharing the results with you. Here is a selection of what you told us.
—Brian K. Lee,
Chair, Alumni Engagement Workgroup
Vice President for Development and