The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 49.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

A timeline of the presidential search process

A timeline of the

presidential search process



(Editor's note: You'll see why, after reviewing this timeline, The Tech staff greets incoming President Charles M. Vest with little more than a sigh of relief.)

March 3, 1989: At a meeting of the MIT Corporation, President Paul E. Gray '54 announces that he will resign his position in July 1990 to become chairman of the MIT Corporation. Chairman David S. Saxon '41 announces his retirement at the same meeting. The Corporation forms the Committee on the Presidency to search for Gray's successor.

May 17: The formation of a faculty advisory committee to the Corporation on the presidential search is endorsed at a faculty meeting. Institute Professor Robert M. Solow is chosen to chair the committee, and Professor Phillip A. Sharp is appointed associate chair.

Early fall: Having become a strong presidential candidate himself, Sharp leaves the faculty search committee.

Jan. 10, 1990: Provost John M. Deutch '61, widely considered to be a leading candidate in MIT's presidential search, withdraws from consideration for the presidency of Johns Hopkins University. He was one of two finalists selected by the Hopkins search committee from 300 applicants.

Jan. 23: Deutch tells the Academic Council that he will not be MIT's next president and that he will step down as provost on June 30.

Feb. 9: The Corporation search committee, with the approval of the faculty search committee, recommends to the Executive Committee of the Corporation that Sharp be nominated to succeed Gray.

Feb. 14: Faculty Chair Henry D. Jacoby sends a letter to members of the faculty, notifying them that the Corporation Executive Committee has nominated Sharp.

Feb. 20: Sharp withdraws his nomination. The Lasker Award-winner says giving up research would be too painful. Gray, Deutch and Saxon all indicate they will stay on as long as is necessary to find a new president.

Mar. 2: At its quarterly meeting (the same one in which Sharp's nomination would have been approved), the MIT Corporation agrees to resume the search for the next president and to extend the terms of Gray and Saxon until Gray's successor is found.

May 27: The search committees ask Charles M. Vest, provost of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to be the 15th president of MIT. Vest, a mechanical engineer, has never been affiliated with MIT.

June 11: Vest accepts the offer.

June 18: In a special meeting, the Corporation approves the nomination of Vest, thus clearing the way for him to take over in the fall.

Oct. 15: Vest takes over as president. Gray becomes chairman of the Corporation. Saxon retires. (We hope!)