The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 31.0°F | Fair

Smith is New BC House- Master

By Marissa Vogt


Professor Merritt Roe Smith will become the new housemaster of Burton Conner House next August, taking over for current housemasters Halston and Katherine Taylor.

Smith said that he became interested in becoming a housemaster while serving as a faculty fellow at J-entry in MacGregor House. As part of his role as a faculty fellow, Smith said, he would frequently join the students for dinners and study breaks.

“It began to turn on lights about what I was missing at MIT,” Smith said. “There was a lingering feeling that I’d had for years that I was at MIT but I wasn’t completely of MIT.”

Larry G. Benedict, the dean for student life, said that a search committee chaired by Halston Taylor received letters of interest from faculty members and conducted interviews for the position.

Smith was interviewed by students, graduate resident tutors, Taylor, and other staff at Burton Conner.

Smith said that he is eager to begin the job, and predicts that he will be at Burton Conner for the next three to five years. He said he hopes to make positive changes within the dormitory.

“I’m sure there will be some changes, but I want to meet with students and get a sense of the culture there,” Smith said.

Taylor leaving to get out of city

Halston Taylor served as the housemaster at Random Hall for three years before coming to Burton Conner nine years ago.

The primary reason for the change, Taylor said, is that he wants to raise his children outside of the city. He said that they will be moving to Arlington next August.

Further motivation, Taylor said, came from the feeling that he had made a difference to the dormitory.

“We finally got to the point where we had accomplished what we wanted to accomplish and everything just clicked,” Taylor said.

Some of those accomplishments, Taylor said, included instilling a stronger sense of community throughout the dorm, improving security, and installing an Athena cluster in the dorm.

Taylor called the experience of being housemaster “incredibly rewarding and educational.”

“I feel like I have learned more from the students than they could ever have learned from me,” Taylor said.