A Distinguished MIT Career: Harold Lobdell
Chances are that you've stood on the Lobdell Balcony in W20 or perhaps had a bite to eat in the Lobdell Dining Hall. But maybe you didn’t notice the name of an employee whose service to MIT prompted that recognition?
Harold E. Lobdell (Class of 1917) truly had a distinguished career at MIT. By the time he was named executive vice president of the Technology Alumni Association in 1946, he had spent 25 years in the Dean’s Office both as an assistant dean and dean. When he was appointed to this final position, MIT President Karl Taylor Compton noted, “Mr. Lobdell has established extraordinarily wide contacts with Technology alumni and is ideally qualified for a post of leadership in carrying out the plans of an expanding alumni program.”
How Lobdell ended up in this senior leadership position reflects an interesting career trajectory. He started his career in 1922 as an editor of MIT’s Technology Review. From there, he became publisher as well as personnel manager for the Division of Industrial Cooperation and Research, and in 1930, became chairman of the Technology Loan Fund.
The very qualities that prompted Lobdell to be hired as an editor are connected to those qualities that are so critical in an alumni relations role. He was described in Technology Review as “inextinguishably interested and active in everything pertaining to the betterment of Technology publications, both as an undergraduate and, since, as one of the hard-worked men in the central office during the Endowment Fund Campaign, a man soaked and steeped with Tech tradition and spirit and with a curiously wide and exact knowledge of men and things Technological.”
Who better then to become the ambassador for the Institute? Along with the recognition in W20, the Harold E. Lobdell Distinguished Service Award was created in 1979 to recognize service in the alumni relations area, with more than 300 recipients having received this honor.
Next 1940–1950: Robert M. Kimball
Presented by Human Resources at MIT
Technology Review, Volume 24, January 1922
The Tech, Friday, October 26, 1946, “Lobdell Given New Post in Alumni Association.”
MIT Alumni Leadership Conference, 2015 Volunteer Leadership Awards