Hurrah for Technology! Ology, ology, oh!

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107-year-old C. Yardley Chittick is the oldest living alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Class of 1922) and of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. Earlier this month, the Boston Globe covered Chittick's return to Phillips Andover Academy for his 90-year reunion, the first alumnus in the school's history to reach that milestone.

After Andover, Chittick went to MIT, where he majored in mechanical engineering, was a low-hurdle track champion, and a proud member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. (The oldest living brother in the fraternity, he donated his membership pin to the Beta Theta Pi archives last year.)

After graduating in 1922, Thomas Edison offered him a job, but he turned it down, thinking it would be more fun to work for a company that manufactured golf clubs. When the Depression hit, he went to law school, passing the bar in 1934. He practiced until he was 85.

A great-grandfather of six, Chittick said yesterday that he does not really have any secrets to longevity. He sailed for much of his life, exercised regularly, and played golf well past his 100th birthday, the Concord Monitor noted in 2005.

He never smoked and drank in moderation - a screwdriver every night with dinner was reportedly his libation of choice.

Now residing in an assisted-living facility in Concord, N.H., Chittick makes his breakfast and lunch each day and dresses for formal tea each afternoon. He still plays the mandolin, and is known to break into the song "Take me back to Tech" when speaking in front of large groups, said his son, 80-year-old Charles Y. Chittick Jr., who was among the four generations of family present for the event yesterday.

At ΒΘΠ's 2006 national convention in Toronto, Chittick was called to the podium, where he spoke briefly then sang the MIT Fight Song, aka Take Me Back to Tech." Click here to listen to an MP3 of Chittick speaking and singing the MIT Fight Song. According to an e-mail from Bob Ferrara of MIT's alumni office, Chittick repeated the feat at last July's convention in Boston, and plans to do it again this summer in Dallas.

Here's another version of the MIT Fight Song, all but the first verse, sung by a half-century worth of alumni of MIT's a capella male choral group, the Logarhythms:

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 25, 2008 12:44 PM.

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