With the foggy Boston skyline as a backdrop, Massachusetts Institute of Technology provost L. Rafael Reif held court with the press on Wednesday morning for the official announcement of his selection as the school’s new president. The Venezuelan native will take over from Susan Hockfield, the school’s first female president and the first biomedical researcher to head the school. An electrical engineer, Reif was appointed to the job of Provost in 2005 by Hockfield and will become president in July.
MIT’s presidential search has played out with breathtaking speed. The search committee was named March 8, less than 10 weeks ago. University presidential searches typically take six months to a year.The committee that named Hockfield president in 2004 took more than seven months to make that decision.
The chairman of MIT’s Board of Trustees, John Reed… told (student newspaper) The Tech that he placed a premium on candidates’ ability to serve as executives. And Hockfield’s stated reason for leaving — her desire to let a new leader handle the long, intense capital campaign on MIT’s horizon — suggested fundraising prowess would be a priority…
Campus gossip in the past several weeks had focused instead on two prominent biologists in their 50s who have spent decades at MIT: Tyler Jacks, head of the university’s new cancer research center, and Eric Lander, head of the Broad Institute, MIT’s joint biomedical research center with Harvard Universi