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Magnanti Appointed Dean of School of Engineering

By Kevin R. Lang
STAFF REPORTER

After serving as co-director of the Operations Research Center since 1986, Institute Professor Thomas L. Magnanti was recently promoted to Dean of the School of Engineering.

Magnanti replaces interim dean John B. Vander Sande, who was appointed in August following Robert A. Brown's installation as provost.

As dean, Magnanti hopes to use his varied experience to continue the success of the school of engineering. "We should all take time to celebrate the fact that MIT and [the School of Engineering] has been among the greatest institutions of higher education ever assembled. We should also take time to celebrate the fact that we are a magnet for such talented students, faculty, and staff," Magnanti said.

President Charles M. Vest called Magnanti "a wonderful human being whose warmth, intelligence and concern for others will serve the entire community well." Vest also lauded Magnanti's experience in both engineering and management. "He is the right person in the right place at the right time."

Provost Brown said that Magnanti's "perspectives on research and education, his tireless energy and personal warmth will make him a very effective leader for the school and the Institute."

While he has not yet planned any specific changes, he will assess the current state of the School of Engineering in order to understand where it should be taken in the future, said Magnanti.

New dean has long MIThistory

Magnanti came to MITin 1971 as an assistant professor in the Sloan School of Management. He later took a simultaneous position in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In his years at MIT, Magnanti helped to found the Leaders for Manufacturing program and System Design and Management program. "Both programs attempt to educate technology-grounded leaders and have significant interactions with industry," said Magnanti.

He was named an Institute Professor in 1997.

Over the course of his tenure, Magnanti has taught everything from freshman seminars to executive education. His research involves optimization problems in logistics, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation, Magnanti said. "I conducted some of my early work with faculty in the Mathematics Department, so one might say that my intellectual interests lie somewhere between the schools of engineering, math, and science."

The dean is responsible for representing student, faculty, and staff interests both within the school and outside MIT, Magnanti said. "A dean helps to frame and support community values. A dean stimulates and supports new initiatives."

"The Dean of Engineering at MIT has a particular responsibility, it seems to me, to be a spokesperson for engineering and technology in general."

Magnanti graduated from Syracuse University in 1967 with a degree in chemical engineering. He later received master's degrees in statistics and mathematics and a PhD in operations research. Magnanti is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has received numerous honorary degrees and awards.