1861 Circle
Like the gravitational pull of a yearly orbit, loyal annual donors create the conditions under which MIT thrives. The 1861 Circle recognizes and celebrates loyal alumni, parents, and friends who have made gifts to MIT at any level for five consecutive years.

Members of the 1861 Circle bring consistency and create the stability necessary for growth. Through their patience and dedication, MIT’s most loyal donors support the best research and scholarship in the universe—from the 1960s, when MIT programmers developed flight software for Apollo 11, to 2016 when LIGO scientists are directly detecting gravitational waves. With a recurring gift at any level, and five orbits around the Sun, anyone can be part of the 1861 Circle.

Ed Hunter ’79
Chair, 1861 Circle
Image of Killian Court and Building 10 Dome, and unknown planet orbiting
Image of Killian Court and Building 10 Dome, and unknown planet orbiting
1861 Circle status is achieved by MIT alumni, parents, students, and friends who have made annual gifts to MIT for five or more consecutive years – three or more consecutive years for graduates of the last decade. To maintain membership, you must give annually.

Circle membership is determined on an annual basis—only donors with one or more gifts in each of the five fiscal years up to and including the year being reported will be listed as Circle members.
The phrase annual gift corresponds to the MIT Annual Fund’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30 of each year.
Gifts of any amount to any area of MIT are counted toward 1861 Circle membership. What matters most is consistent annual support. MIT relies on its alumni to give what they can each and every year. Giving together, annual donors of every amount help keep the Institute strong.
Much like being admitted to MIT, Circle membership is a special distinction that is earned. To preserve this distinction, donors who miss even a single fiscal year of giving will experience a lapse in membership, which can only be resumed with five or more consecutive years of MIT Annual Fund support.
Pledges to make future gifts are extremely important to MIT, yet the 1861 Circle was created to recognize donors for actual gifts received every year. So, if you’ve made a pledge, don’t forget to make your pledge payments!
  • Invitations to special donor-recognition events
  • Recognition in online donor roster
  • Recognition in appropriate honor rolls
  • Lapel pins for 1861 Infinity Members (see below)
The 1861 Circle’s infinity members have given to MIT every single year since earning their first MIT degree!

Think of it: that could mean 10, 25, or in some remarkable instances even 50-plus years in a row.

The Institute is especially grateful to these outstanding donors for their enduring annual support.

Spot the year’s “infinite” elite by locating members with an infinity sign (∞) next to their name. View donor rosters here.