An alumnus of the class of 1953 writes of the "MIT Plumber's Cup":
The year was 1955 or thereabouts. The late Malcolm G. Kispert, then Vice Chancellor, asked me to take the responsibility for publicizing the hush-hush, day-long Annual Retreat for members of the MIT Administration. He also asked me to find a way to revive some of its lagging attendance and enthusiasm.
I was then a young, brash Assistant Director of the Industrial Liaison Office, and totally terrified. I wanted fiercely to succed, but I did not know many of "all those other people" (circa 300) and had no clue about what would move them to come.
Time: Saturday in May
Place: Round Hill Observatory (The Hattie Green Estate in Dartmouth, bequealthed to MIT for research by the reculsive Wall Street Financier.)
Transportation: MIT buses
Guests: As many brave souls as possible
For some mysterious reason, the President, Chancellor and academic Deans were excluded, in order to maintain institutional decorum, I later learned why.
My approach was to give the Retreat a fresh, new compelling name -- The Round Hill Urological Society. The name turned out to be prophetic, with the quantity of malt beverages consumed with hot dogs, hamburgers and lobster, plus stogies and Cuban cigars. By the day's end, after much camaraderie, card playing, stickball, beach combing and joke telling, everyone was on a first name basis, and more. I spent my day getting a sandy bottom on the beach.
The high point of that successful day was the unanimous award of the Plumbers Loving Cup to the most deserving administrator. Beforehand, I had commissioned the Plumbing Shop in Physical Plant to craft a foot high loving cup out of discarded plumbing parts, all nicely welded together. And they surpassed themselves with their artistry.
The Cup was awarded to Edward J. Norcott, then resident Auditor of the Department of Defense, who was both a stern auditor and stout friend of sponsored research at MIT. It was presented on behalf of the mythical Round Hill Urological Society, and he was moved to tears. I believe it may have been one of the high points of his professional career.
Historical Note: The Round Hill Society was disbanded a few years later due to the uncontrolled growth of the Graduate School in the 1950s -- and the arrival of larger numbers of women in the MIT Administration as the Institute grew in size and scope.