Vest will choose provost
By Reuven M. Lerner
With incoming President Charles M. Vest set to take office in less than two weeks, attention is now being focused on his choice for a new provost.
The provost is MIT's chief academic officer, and is additionally responsible for managing much of the Institute's budget. Current Provost John M. Deutch '61 told the Academic Council in February that he would not be MIT's next president or provost, and later explained that he would resign when President Paul E. Gray '54 leaves office on Oct. 15.
Vest has supposedly not made his final choice for provost, but he is expected to decide before the Corporation meeting this Friday. He is said to have narrowed the field down to several candidates.
Prominent among them are Mark S. Wrighton, head of the Department of Chemistry; Paul L. Penfield Jr. ScD '60, chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Thomas H. Jordan, head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Lester C. Thurow, dean
of the Sloan School of Management; and Joel Moses MA '67, professor and former head of EECS.
Wrighton seems to be the strongest contender, in part because of his proven ability to raise funds for research. Last year, he received the first-ever combination professorship and research grant, valued at over $3 million.
At 41, he is also one of the youngest professors ever to head an MIT department. In addition, he is rumored to have been considered for the MIT presidency.
A student in Wrighton's laboratory said yesterday that while Wrighton "looked very happy," he had not discussed his candidacy.
Undergraduate Association President Manish Bapna '91 and Graduate Student Council President Michael D. Grossberg G will speak with Vest on the telephone this morning.
They said they plan to discuss Vest's candidates for provost, and how each of them would interact with the student body.
They will also speak about the possibility of appointing a new dean for student affairs. EECS Professor Arthur C. Smith has served as acting dean for student affairs since June, when Shirley M. McBay resigned to head the Quality Education for Minorities Network.