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MIT seeks new leader as Gray resigns

@ByName:By Reuven M. Lerner

Saxon immediately announced the appointment of Carl M. Mueller '41 as chair of the Corporation presidential search committee. The faculty chose a presidential search committee of their own, chaired by Professor Robert M. Solow. Though the faculty committee is technically only an advisory group, the two committees have been meeting and working together during the entire search process, according to members of both groups.

The Corporation is expected to approve the committees' choice at its March meeting.

Solow said that the committees have received over 200 suggestions for candidates. Of these, a large number went through initial interviews. The search committees have reportedly met with people from MIT, from other universities, and from industry. One committee member said that many more candidates are "from outside, but that is because there are many more people outside."

Members of both committees have repeatedly denied the existence of a "short list," or a final list of candidates from which the final choice will be selected, but other sources within MIT claim that such a list already exists. One committee member acknowledged that they are no longer looking at new candidates, but are narrowing the field from within one set of candidates. Committee members refused to confirm or deny the candidacy of individuals.

According to members of the faculty committee, input has been sought from all members of the MIT community. A forum held on Dec. 20 provided a medium for those on the search committee to update the community on their progress to date, and to field questions from the audience. Many of the people in attendance expressed dissatisfaction with the selection process, and criticized the lack of student participation.

There was also a great deal of concern about MIT's connections with the Department of Defense. Students and faculty alike criticized the closeness of the two bodies, and one student went so far as to say that MIT had "no social conscience."

Prominent candidates

leave the race

There is a great deal of uncertainty even now concerning possible candidates, due in large part to the resignations of two of the most likely candidates.

Professor David S. Baltimore '61, a Nobel laureate and director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, announced in October that he had accepted the presidency of Rockefeller University, a biomedical research center in New York City. Baltimore had been considered a leading candidate in part because of his prominence in the scientific community and for his administrative skills.

Provost John M. Deutch '61 had been considered the most likely candidate until he announced two weeks ago that he would not become the next president, but would instead return to academic life after resigning from his post on June 30.

Deutch's aggressive management style and his many years of experience as an administrator have placed him on short lists for leadership positions around the country. During the entire presidential search here at MIT, there have been numerous reports of Deutch's candidacy for the presidency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Deutch was in fact one of two finalists at Hopkins until he pulled out of that search in the middle of January.

The provost's aggressiveness has often been regarded as both a liability and an asset. One faculty member remarked that "resentment [of Deutch] is at a fairly high level and is felt by high numbers of faculty."

Deutch's controversial tenure as provost has been marked by a major initiative on educational reform, the hasty 1988 dismantling of the Department of Applied Biological Sciences, and intimate involvement with national defense interests.

It is still unclear exactly who the remaining candidates are, both within and outside of MIT. Science The Boston Globe

Copyright 1990 by The Tech. All rights reserved.
This story was originally published on Tuesday, February 6, 1990.
Volume 110, Year in Review
The story was printed on page 2.

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