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President Vest, Deans Speak at Graduate Student Picnic

Agnes Borszeki -- The Tech
Graduate students gather together by department at the orientation picnic yesterday in the Johnson Athletics Center.

By Brett Altschul
associate news editor

Bad weather caused the relocation of another new student event, this time for new graduate students.

Yesterday's orientation picnic was moved from Killian Court to Johnson Athletics Center because of rain. Just last week, the freshman pre-rush Killian Kick-Off was also moved to Johnson because of rain.

The event, sponsored by the Graduate Student Council, featured a sack lunch for the attendees, speeches by members of the MIT administration, including President Charles M. Vest, and social time for the new graduate students to meet each other.

"The rain didn't seem to affect attendance at all," said Eva Moy G, a coordinator of Graduate Orientation. "I think the picnic went very well, considering the last-minute change of location."

"We had about 900 people at the picnic, including new and old students, graduate administrators, professors, deans, and other invited guests," Moy said. "We had only about 50 lunches left over from the original order of 1,000."

Despite the different location, the program went as planned. The picnic began at noon, when graduate students ate and socialized on the gym floor, mostly clustered around signs denoting their respective departments.

At 12:30 p.m., the formal portion of the picnic commenced. Moy served as master of ceremonies. There were six brief speeches. "We tried to make the speeches short and sweet,'" she said.

Vest, deans speak to grad students

First Moy introduced President Vest, the featured guest speaker. Vest described the MIT environment to the new graduate students.

In his brief address, Vest called MIT a unique and challenging place. He welcomed the new students to that place and offered his support in their activities here.

Vest offered congratulations to the new members of the MIT community, inviting them to join in the vibrant life of MIT.

After Vest, J. David Litster, vice president for research and dean for graduate education, and Isaac M. Colbert , senior associate dean for graduate education, spoke to the new graduate students. They both mentioned the unique position of graduate students at an institution with research as high-quality as that at MIT.

Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams then addressed the new students. She pointed to their position as role-models for undergraduates.

Then Margaret R. Bates, dean for student life, spoke about the "intentional community" at MIT. "By intentional, I mean that you chose it, and it chose you," she said.

She further exhorted the students to make MIT a better place for everyone.

The final speaker was Geoffrey Coram G, president of the Graduate Student Council. Coram welcomed them to a community of distinguished graduate students.

Coram further urged the new graduate students to become involved in the GSC. By taking a hand in leading through the GSC, "you can help yourself and countless other graduate students, both current and future," he said.

After the speakers, the graduate students had about an hour to socialize before the had to break up by department for their departmental orientations.