Ernie Cohen at Tech Reunions, 2014

Ernie Cohen at Tech Reunions, 2014
Courtesy MIT Technology Review

Ernie Cohen '64 (right), who was honored at a Black Alumni of MIT (BAMIT) gathering, chats with a fellow Cardinal and Gray Society member during Tech Day, September 2014.

Ernie Cohen on going to MIT

I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina in the late 1950’s, the child of two teachers, a mother who taught in Middle School and a father who taught classes in Masonry.  Though some would call our surroundings as humble, I was surrounded by books, ideas, aspirations and opportunities to build things.

I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer and was tracking to MIT early. I was my high school valedictorian. When I took the PSAT's and then later the SAT's, I did very well. 

I arrived at MIT in September 1960. At the time, there were 3 Blacks in my class, and only 12 Blacks in MIT’s undergraduate school of about 3600 students. I studied in the stacks at Hayden library, which were as quiet as a tomb. This helped me get on Dean’s list by end of second term. Though my very first computer course in the fall of 1960 was a disaster, I learned more than I realized.

--Ernest "Ernie" Cohen '64, BAMIT Newsletter (July 2014)


Cardinal & Gray Society

In 1966, when the class of 1916 returned to MIT for its 50th reunion, it organized a fund to purchase a reunion jacket for each of its classmates. Since then, alumni attending their 50th reunions are distinguished by wearing gray slacks or skirts and a cardinal blazer, bearing a detachable, intricately stitched MIT [breast-pocket] crest. For many years, the 50th reunion class has played an important role in Commencement exercises by leading [graduates] into Killian Court.

Cardinal & Gray Society, MIT Alumni Association

Timeline: 2010s
School: School of Engineering
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Life: Black Alumni/ae of MIT (BAMIT)Cardinal & Gray Society
Career: CommunityEngineering
Object: Image
Collection: Conferences, Critical Mass 1955-1968, Ernest Cohen, Rising Voices 1995-Present