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MIT Corporation Chaiman announces retirement plans

By Andrew L. Fish

David S. Saxon '41 was only the second of six Chairmen of the MIT Corporation not to have served as President of MIT. In fact, Saxon spent most of his life in the University of California system, where he served as President for eight years.

Saxon said he felt "reasonably good" about his tenure as chairman of the MIT Corporation, which will have been seven years long when he steps down in 1990. "I do feel that I brought to MIT and the Corporation a new perspective," Saxon said. Coming from another institution gave him a different viewpoint that fostered changes "in a small way," he said.

One regret Saxon had was that his role in MIT's Campaign for the Future "has been more effective at the conceptual level" than at raising actual funds. He said that this was a matter of personality and that little could be done about it.

Saxon noted that the chairman was conceived as a position for a past president -- not someone who was outside the MIT administration. Therefore, President Paul E. Gray '54 was a natural choice for the post.

Saxon and Gray have "worked as a team" for the past five years and have has a "harmonious, comfortable relationship," Saxon said. "I can't think of a single discordant note over this time."

After stepping down as chairman, Saxon plans to spend time on both coasts, working as a volunteer for MIT and re-establishing ties with the University of California system. "These are two absolutely wonderful institutions," Saxon said. The opportunity to serve them both is "an attractive prospect."