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John Curry Named New Executive Vice President

By Dan McGuire
Contributing Editor

John R. Curry, vice-president for business and finance at the California Institute of Technology, has agreed to fill a newly formed position as MIT's executive vice- president on November 15.

The position is in some ways a superset of the job filled by Senior Vice President for Operations William R. Dickson '56 until his retirement earlier this year.

"Curry will be Vest's chief deputy on the administrative or business side of MIT," said Nancy D. Kelly, administrative officer in the President's Office, who served as the staff to the advisory committee which helped select Curry to fill the post.

Added to the new position is responsibility for the area of financial planning and management. Previously, the vice-president for finance and treasurer reported directly to the president about these issues..

According to a press release announcing the new position, Curry will be responsible for operations, financial management and planning, human resources management, information systems, and resource development.

Curry brings vast experience

Curry comes to MIT with a background in finance. At Caltech, he was responsible for overseeing the $300 million annual operating budget and $100 million capital budget, managing the Institute's trusts and endowments, and monitoring its overall fiscal operations. He also played a role in Caltech's re-engineering effort.

Before Caltech, Curry served as administrative vice chancellor and chief financial officer at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to managing the university's finances, he also directed its administrative reorganization. As part of that reorganization, he decentralized key areas and implemented a system of incentives to improve efficiency.

Curry has also written more than a dozen articles on academic finance and organizational management. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Vest, in a letter announcing the appointment, called Curry an "extraordinary individual."

"He has a track record of success. The [search] advisory committee was extremely impressed with John's energy, leadership, capabilities and vision," Vest said.

Curry has a "vision for and an understanding of the changes that research universities like MIT must confront as we enter the next century," he added.

"We will focus on a continuously improving administration. I've met many dedicated and professional staff at MIT eager to do just that.," Curry said in a press release. "Everyone I've talked to at MIT - faculty, administration, staff - has a keen sense of what needs to be done in the rapidly changing competitive world we are in," he said.

Vest and Curry met in college

In a personal twist, Vest and Curry were classmates while at West Virginia University. "John and I had a couple of mathematics classes together, probably in 1961 or 62," Vest said.

"I didn't see him again until 1991 when he represented The University of Southern California at my MIT inauguration. Although I did not know him well as a student, he was one of my brightest classmates, and I enjoyed talking about mathematics with him," he said.

This is the second time in slightly more than a year that Caltech and MIT have had high-profile exchanges of personnel. In May 1997 former Institute Professor David Baltimore '61 agreed to serve as Caltech's president.