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Institute Colloquium Committee to build framework for MIT lectures

Guest Column/Frank Morgan

One of my senior seminar students stopped by my office this summer. He had just won a national award for a problem he had solved last spring. He wanted to give me the prize money to use for seminars and dinners for other students, because he had found them so helpful.

Several years ago I invited the president of the American Mathematical Society to lecture at MIT. The students who seemed to get the most out of the event were the ones who joined him for dinner afterwards.

In both cases the accompanying activities proved as important as the main class or lecture.

I think that when a Philip Morrison, Ralph Nader, or Lee Iacocca lectures at MIT, he, the audience, and the issues deserve that kind of opportunity for continuing community discussion and response. The living groups deserve a role, a chance to host the speaker overnight or to hold associated speaker/faculty dinners. And such programs should occur regularly.

Well now we have a chance. Dean McBay has just announced the appointment in the Provost's Office of an Institute Colloquium Committee (with myself as chairman). The committee is to consider the establishment of a suitable permanent framework for important lectures at MIT, including perhaps hosting and feasting speakers in the student living groups.

Which groups, and whether this happens at all, depends on student initiative. The committee hereby solicits the suggestions and involvement of all MIT students. See me (2-181, 253-3665, secretary Lisa Court, 2-273, 253-4380/1) or any committee member (roster, including student members, available in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, 7-133).

A major program on apartheid coming up here in November will provide a good first opportunity to test these ideas. And what should be done in 1986?

(Editor's note: Frank Morgan '74 is Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor in the Department of Mathematics.)