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Members of the MIT faculty on what they want in a new president

Members of the editorial board of the MIT faculty newsletter offer anonymous comments what they want in a new president, and there choices. Find the full article here.

“Moral rather than financial leadership is what matters to me. Someone who pays attention to the people at all levels on this campus. We need a President to protect the intellectual property that is our subjects and our research from those who would profit from them and who understands what a treasure our student body is.”

“In my personal view, the last great MIT President was Jerry Wiesner. We need someone like that: not only a great scientist and intellectual, but someone who has international prestige, who has managed large institutions, and has great fund-raising skills, already giving evidence that they can raise funds of a billion dollars (and more).”

“We need a person who is technologically savvy, particularly with regards to needed changes in teaching methods, subjects, and research.”

“We want someone who is a scientist or an engineer; not an administrator.”

“We need a President who will speak up against those who would pervert scientific findings or muzzle the scientific community for the sake of corporate contributions, and who will defend the truth even when it might look more politic to remain silent.”

“Someone who will help broaden MIT’s impact and involvement, particularly in reinvigorating U.S. technological and manufacturing prowess.”

“We want one who puts the best traditions of MIT – the disinterested pursuit of knowledge – above any other consideration, be it branding or marketing. We want the principles of science to prevail, not those of the business school.”

“We need a President who will make sure that the people in whose neighborhoods we sit will gain some advantage from our presence rather than any disadvantage.”

“We want someone who will do something to restore the collegiality that used to distinguish the way that MIT did business.”

“We need a person who has a good understanding of industrial relations and contact management. A leader who will bring people and ideas together that will lead toward cooperation and mutual support.”

“We want someone who will listen to his or her constituency.”

There were also a few specific suggestions of candidates from both inside and outside the Institute. From within they included:

  • Tyler Jacks (Koch Institute);
  • Eric Lander (Department of Biology and the Broad Institute);
  • Susan Lindquist (Department of Biology and the Whitehead Institute);
  • Rafael Reif (Provost).

Candidates from outside MIT (but often with MIT affiliation) included:

  • Joseph Aoun (President of Northeastern);
  • Lawrence Bacow (former President of Tufts);
  • Bob Brown (President of BU);
  • Robert Birgeneau (Chancellor, University of California at Berkeley);
  • Alice Gast (President of Lehigh University);
  • Mark Wrighton (Chancellor, Washington University).


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