Diversity At MIT
1981 to present1860s
1861- MIT is founded.
1861- American Civil War begins.
1863- Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation.
1867- MIT begins need-based aid to students. The Committee on Free Scholarships makes commitment “to offer the honor of the scholarship as a prize to the best scholars” and “to make it a point of honor with those who obtain but do not need it to transfer the nomination to the best scholar to whom the free tuition shall be deemed a positive benefit.”
1870- MIT’s first international student, from Fukuoka, Japan, Aechirau Hongma ’74, enrolls; he eventually graduates in Course I.
1871- MIT’s first female student, Ellen H. Swallow ’73, is admitted to MIT as a special student in chemistry.
1876- Women’s Laboratory opens in cooperation with Women’s Education Association of Boston to provide special instruction in chemistry and related subjects.
1879- Women obtain right to practice law before U.S. Supreme Court.
1887- Florida’s legislature passes first “Jim Crow” laws.
1892- MIT’s first African-American student, Robert R. Taylor ’92, Course IV, graduates.
1899- The MIT Women’s Association (MITWA) is established (renamed Association of MIT Alumnae, AMITA, in 1964).
1903- Lydia G. Weld is the first woman to receive an engineering degree (in naval architecture and engineering, predecessor to Course XIII).
1905- Marie Turner ’09 is the first black woman to attend MIT studying Course IV.
1909- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded.
1911- Cosmopolitan Club established; its purpose is “to unite for mutual benefits, social and intellectual, Technology men of all nationalities.”
1913- President Woodrow Wilson officially introduces segregation into the federal government.
1916- Chinese Students Club founded.
1920s- There are 29 black students attending MIT.
1920- American women get to vote.
1920- The Harlem Renaissance.
1923- Elhanan Borucov, Course I, appears to be the first Israeli student.
1929- The Admissions Office formally created.
1929- The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) established in the face of anti-Mexican sentiments in the Southwest.
1929- Michael Luther King Jr., later renamed Martin, born to schoolteacher Alberta King and Baptist minister Michael Luther King.
1930s- There are eight black students attending MIT.
1935- The Committee on Admissions makes entrance requirements more flexible, in keeping with the requirements of other technical schools.
1935- NAACP lawyers Charles Houston and Thurgood Marshall win legal battle to admit a black student to the University of Maryland.
1940s- There are 11 black students attending MIT.
1944- Following WWII, Congress passes the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill,” which guarantees financial assistance from the federal government to any college-bound veteran.
1945- Women’s dormitory established at 120 Bay State Road.
1950- Society for Women Engineers founded.
1954- Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a unanimous decision decrees that segregation is unconstitutional, overthrowing the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that had set the “separate but equal” precedent.
1955- Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man.
1955- MIT hires first black faculty member, Joseph R. Applegate, a linguist.
1956- Martin Luther King Jr. arrested for traveling 5 mph over speed limit. His house is bombed four days later.
1957- Desegregation at Little Rock, Arkansas. After two futile attempts to attend Little Rock Central High School, nine black students begin attending Central High with the help of 1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National Guardsmen.
1957- MIT officially adopts “need-blind” admissions policy, eliminating any consideration of an applicant’s ability to pay from the admissions process.
1957- Martin Luther King Jr. named first president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1957, King travels 780,000 miles and makes 208 speeches.
1959- Katharine D. McCormick ’04 donates funds for first on-campus women’s dormitory, which opens in 1964.
1960- Forty-three percent of admitted class demonstrates financial need and receives financial aid from MIT.
1963- Dr. King arrested while leading protests in Birmingham, Alabama and writes “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.”
1963- A. Philip Randolpf and Bayard Rustin organize March on Washington where Dr. King delivers his famous “I Have a Dream speech” to 250,000.
1963- MIT Prof. Emily Wick ’51 becomes first woman to receive tenure. Shortly afterwards, she is appointed Associate Dean of Student Affairs and asked to run a “women’s program.”
1968- Prof. Margaret L.A. MacVicar ’65 launches Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
1968- Black Students’ Union established.
1968- Dr. King and President John F. Kennedy assassinated.
1969- Project Interphase begins.
1969- First National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, the largest Chicano conference of its time, held in Colorado.
1969- Student Homophile League (now GaMIT) established.
1970- MIT allows coed dormitories. MIT adopts gender-blind admissions policy based on recommendation from an ad hoc committee on women’s admissions.
1971- Twelve percent of MIT’s freshmen are in the lowest national quarter of family income.
1972- Little more than three percent of MIT’s undergraduate population is from American minority groups.
1972- MIT faculty includes 28 women.
1973- Shirley A. Jackson ’68 and Jennifer Rudd ’68 became the first two black women to earn doctorates from MIT.
1974- Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Science Program (MITES) established.
1974- National Society of Black Engineers-MIT established.
1975- Office of Minority Education established.
1975- Chocolate City established.
1979- Sheila E. Windnall ’60 becomes first woman elected chair of MIT faculty.
1981- Association of Puerto Rican Students established.
1984- Women make up 29% of the admitted class of 1988.
1984- Economist Anne F. Friedlaender, PhD ’64, appointed Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, becoming the first woman academic dean at MIT.
1986- Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday first celebrated as a national holiday.
1986- A Racial Climate Report finds that underrepresented minority students at MIT experienced feelings of isolation and felt that admission standards were lower for minorities.
1989- Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity apologizes for their insensitive party poster depicting one of their African-American brothers in a degrading, stereotypical pose.
1990- LUChA, SHPE, and Club Latino defend controversial party posters against criticism that they are a form of sexual harassment.
1990- South Asian American Students established.
1990- Fifty-seven percent of MIT’s admitted class demonstrates financial need and receives aid from MIT. MIT provides in excess of $23 million in private financial aid to its undergraduate students.
1992- Four white LAPD police officers are acquitted of assault while arresting black motorist Rodney King. Riots and fires ensue in Los Angeles.
1992- Thirty-eight percent of MIT’s undergraduate population comprises American minorities.
1993- Members of Lambda Chi Alpha spray-paint a homophobic slur in front of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity house. Following the incident, the IFC and GaMIT cosponsor a talk by gay activist and author Warren J. Blumenfeld.
1993- Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity denies racial epithets were shouted from a window to four black students walking past the house. About 20 students demonstrate in protest outside PBE and in Lobby 7.
1993- MIT wins Overlap antitrust case, which accused MIT of conspiring with Ivy League colleges to fix the amount of financial aid students receive. MIT’s primary argument in the case is that financial aid should be considered charity, not commerce.
1993- Clinton administration implements “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for military officers.
1994- GaMIT’s display case in the Infinite Corridor entitled “Greeks and Queers” contains eight posters describing homophobic incidents in the Greek system since 1979. IFC objects to the negative publicity during Greek Week. Series of meetings to open communication lines follows.
1994- President Vest creates Committee on Campus Race Relations.
1994- MIT announces Robert Taylor Professorship for minority faculty, named in honor of MIT’s first African-American graduate.
1995- The Blacks at MIT History Project begins.
1995- PBE and BSU reach a resolution to their long-running controversy. The Committee on Discipline eventually concludes that racial epithets were shouted but that there was not sufficient evidence to implicate the students charged.
1995- Assault committed against GaMIT booth during Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Awareness Days by unknown fraternity member sparks tension between IFC and GaMIT.
1996- La Union Chicana Por Aztlan established.
1997- The Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists established.
1997- Black Women’s Alliance established.
1999- School of Science Report leads to the Gender Equity Project.
1999- Wen Ho Lee, Los Alamos Physicist, is indicted on 39 accounts of violating Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and 20 accounts of violation the Federal Espionage Act.
2001- Racially charged language sparks a physical altercation between members of the band The Roots and brothers at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
2001- The MIT Asian American Association (MITAAA) established.
2002- Latino Lounge created in the Student Center to house and provide support for Latino Student Groups.
2003- In a study conducted jointly between MIT and the University of Chicago School, researchers find that job applicants with black-sounding names were fifty percent less likely to be called by companies despite equal credentials on their resumes.
Compiled by Joel J. Jaimes.