An alumni association was formed in 1897, one year after the first BA degrees were awarded to graduates of Throop Polytechnic Institute. The history of this association carried forward to June 7, 1915, when thirteen graduates of what had become Throop College of Technology banded together to form an alumni association for the purpose of creating a perpetual bond of friendship between all alumni. The name of the college was changed to the California Institute of Technology in 1920.
In 1935 the Caltech Alumni Association was formally incorporated in the State of California, and its purposes were expanded to assist the Institute by supporting and advancing the cause of higher education. The Articles of Incorporation were amended in 1968 to expand the purposes of the Association and to increase the number of directors. In 2001, the corporation was converted from a "mutual benefit corporation" to a "public benefit corporation" under California law, and it was determined by the Internal Revenue Service to qualify as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
Today the Association's purposes include:
- Contributing to, promoting and enhancing the educational environment of the Institute;
- Promoting educational contacts between and among students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and alumni of the Institute;
- Supporting the educational purposes and activities of the Institute;
- Providing educational opportunities to students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and alumni of the Institute;
- Supporting the educational activities of students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and alumni of the Institute; and
- Engaging in any lawful educational activities that support or benefit the Institute which do not contemplate the distribution of gains, profits or dividends to the members of the corporation.