MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Associate Provost for the Arts

Once again, it has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the arts at MIT. The Killian Prize, which is the highest honor given by MIT to individual faculty members, was awarded to Professor John Harbison of Music; the arts faculty achieved further distinction at home and abroad in many ways; the arts curriculum was encompassed into the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science Distribution (HASS-D) requirement, thereby achieving a long-range curricular goal; the facilities improvement program in the arts continued to move forward with plans for a complete renovation of the Music Library in summer of 1996 thanks to the generosity of alumnus Cherry Emerson '41CH of Atlanta; and the Institute's widely honored permanent art collection benefited from the promised installation of two major works by American artist Frank Stella thanks to the generosity of Council for the Arts member Elliot Wolk '57MG.

The past year also was one in which the Office of the Arts oversaw two additional campus activities outside the specific purview of the arts. At the request of President Charles Vest early in 1994, the Associate Provost for the Arts accepted the responsibility for chairing the newly established Committee on Campus Race Relations. After the death of Vice President Constantine Simonides in late spring of 1994, the Associate Provost for the Arts accepted the additional responsibility for the MIT Press. Both are discussed later in this Introduction; also see the separate report from the MIT Press which follows.

The year was also one of many personal transitions. Phoebe Hackett, Assistant to the Director for Administration, left the MIT Museum after many years. The Museum changed this loss into an opportunity by reconfiguring this position, and in October Mary Leen joined the Museum as Associate Director with responsibilities for administration and fund-raising. The Museum also benefited from the establishment of the position of Curator of Architecture on a three-year term basis, due in part to the generosity of Martin Zimmerman 59EE. Professor Ellen T. Harris announced her decision to step down from the position of Associate Provost for the Arts, and an Advisory Committee chaired by Dean Philip Khoury was convened to recommend candidates to the Provost. With Provost Mark Wrighton's decision to accept the position of Chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis, this process was somewhat slowed. The Advisory Committee will now report to newly appointed Provost Joel Moses, and Professor Harris will continue to oversee the Office of the Arts until January 1, 1996. Finally, Mark Palmgren decided to step down from his position as Director of the Council for the Arts to pursue long-term interests in arts criticism and advocacy, and a transitional plan was set in place to cover the period until a new Associate Provost is named. It is a measure of the strength of the arts community at MIT today that these transitions still in process, like those already accomplished at the Museum, are not cause for disruption but rather provide opportunities for growth.


The mission of the arts at MIT, both curricular and co-curricular, is threefold: (1) to achieve the highest standards of excellence within the context of MIT; (2) to integrate the arts with other programs at the Institute; and (3) to take a leadership role in the arts locally, nationally, and internationally.

Achieving Excellence
Every year the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT) chooses a single field to highlight from among the six academic areas represented on Creative Arts Council (CAC), the faculty council in the arts. These fields in the order of the CAMIT sequence are: Writing, Architecture, Music, Visual Arts, Theater, and Media Arts. This year the field was Music, and more than ever before this choice seemed to spread to include programs and honors throughout the Institute.

Among the Institute events were the Killian Award given to Professor Harbison and the Killian Lecture he delivered to a rapt audience. Later in the spring, Professor Harbison was promoted to Institute Professor, another first for the arts faculty. Professor Marcus Thompson of Music was awarded the endowed Robert R. Taylor Professorship. At the annual meeting of CAMIT, Professor Peter Child was awarded the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize for excellence in the creative arts. Through the Roy Lamson Memorial Fund for Music at MIT, CAMIT commissioned Professor Evan Ziporyn, Lecturer Elena Ruehr, and Senior Lecturer Ed Cohen to compose works for performance at next year's annual meeting and Music Professor Lowell Lindgren to write program notes.

Off campus Professor Ziporyn premiered a new composition for MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika (a Balinese orchestra of pitched percussion instruments similar to marimbas, gongs, and drums and played by MIT students) at the Lincoln Center Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City. A collaboration by theater Professor Alan Brody, Professor Child, and Senior Lecturer John Oliver resulted in the premiere of the oratorio Reckoning Time at Jordan Hall. Professor Brody prepared the text on the life of Walt Whitman, which included writings of Whitman himself; Professor Child composed the score; and Maestro Oliver conducted the John Oliver Chorale in a stellar performance that also included theater Lecturer Michael Ouellette in a speaking role. Both the Ziporyn premiere and the oratorio were received with critical acclaim. Finally at Tech Night at the Pops this year, MIT was fully represented by a performance of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait with Professor Brody as Narrator and also by a performance of Copland's Canticle of Freedom conducted by Maestro Oliver in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of MIT's commission of the work for the opening of Kresge Auditorium in 1955.

To top off this "music year," the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program sponsored two significant music residencies. The Endellion String Quartet from England, through the generous support of the Reuters Foundation, offered an in-depth residence of coaching, classroom participation, intimate performances for student groups, and three full evening public concerts. Through the support of the William L. Abramowitz Program, the Office of the Arts brought composer Steve Reich to campus as the 1995 Abramowitz Lecturer. MIT students prepared a challenging program of Reich's works under the direction of Professor Ziporyn, to which Reich added during his week's intensive residence. The all-Reich concert performed by students, Professor Ziporyn and Reich in Kresge filled the house and was received with raves from audience and critics alike. Reich stated at the end of the residency that he had always thought science and engineering were the beginning and end of MIT, but now he realized that science and engineering were only the beginning of what goes on at the Institute.

In addition to these music programs, the arts flourished in all other areas as well. The ground-breaking MIT-Emory University Exchange in Music and Theater that was conceived and established by Atlanta alumnus Mr. Emerson was kicked off by a stellar professional performance of Professor Brody's play The Company of Angels by Theater Emory; next year pianist and MIT Lecturer David Deveau will visit Emory for a residency and public concert and the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta will take up a residency at MIT. Professor Alan Lightman's latest novel, Good Benito, received wide-ranging national praise. The List Visual Arts Center began the year by organizing and installing an inaugural exhibit at the American Center in Paris entitled Leon Golub and Nancy Spero: War and Memory. Shortly after this opening, Leon Golub came to MIT to participate in the Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art that this year focused on the relation of formal skills and political messages in contemporary visual art. This year's forum attracted so large an audience that some were turned away; to accommodate area students a video tape of the forum was later shown at neighboring arts institutions. The Golub and Spero exhibit came to the List Center's own galleries in the spring and was in place for Tech Day, which focused this year on a commemoration of the ending of World War II. Under the expert guidance of the new Curator for Architecture, Kimberly Shilland, the MIT Museum hosted a remarkable exhibit detailing the influence of MIT School of Architecture graduates on Chicago: From Louis Sullivan to SOM: Boston Grads Go to Chicago. This exhibit has now been shown as well at one Chicago location and will open in the fall at another. The Architecture Collection also benefited from the rescue of much of the archives of The Architects Collaborative, which closed precipitously in June and included significant materials of Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus group. Finally, the recognition of excellence was further assured with the establishment in the Student Art Association of the Harold ('44ML) and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts through the generosity of the Schnitzers.

Integration of the Arts into the MIT Community
For the arts to flourish in the context of MIT, it is critical that they be integrated into the work of the Institute at all levels. As the excellence of the arts programs is more widely recognized, such integration is facilitated.

Perhaps most important was the decision to incorporate the arts category into the HASS-D requirement. This is a goal the Office of the Arts has worked to achieve since its founding. Beginning in the fall of 1995, students will be able to fulfill one of the requirements of the HASS-D program by taking a subject in the arts.

The Office of the Arts continued working with the Office of Admissions. Once again, we participated fully in Campus Preview Weekend with representatives for both the student and parent presentations. In addition, the Associate Provost sent a letter to every student admitted through the early admissions program who indicated a strong interest in the arts. Not surprisingly, this totalled more than half of all early admissions. Included with this letter was a copy of the new Student's Guide to the Arts. The Guide was also made available to members of the Education Council who interview prospective students. By making the arts programs at MIT better known to prospective applicants and admitted students, we expect to help increase the numbers of applicants and the yield of admitted students.

The AIR Program, in addition to its active program of enriching arts programs with the placement of artists in residence, also inaugurated a major new initiative in placing residencies in engineering departments. Like the arts residencies, these residencies in engineering departments strictly followed the AIR principle that all visiting artists must have a faculty sponsor and be integrated into curricular or co-curricular activities in the department unit. Felice Frankel, a science photographer who is currently specializing in the depiction of chemical surfaces, has been in residence for the year in the Edgerton Center, sponsored by Professor Kim Vandiver. Her work has been shown widely, including on a cover of Science. The residency of Ms. Frankel was recently highlighted at MIT in an issue of Spectrum, where instances are given of her images and vision-advancing research in the laboratories in which she worked. Under the sponsorship of Professor Ely Sachs, Jill Smith and Phil Dench, a team of designers from Australia, have worked in Materials Science and Engineering on developing new techniques in three-dimensional modeling. Mechanical Engineering has seen two residencies. Arthur Ganson, kinetic sculptor, not only worked within the department, but also showed his work in one of the most popular exhibits ever mounted by the MIT Museum in Compton Gallery. Chuck Hoberman, sculptor and architect, worked both with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and with Architecture. See the separate report from Special Programs that follows.

The List Visual Arts Center engaged the broad academic community at MIT in new and exciting forms of outreach (see the separate report that follows). During the exhibit that examined images evoking the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, Critical Mass, Professors Emeriti Philip Morrison and Victor Weisskopf spoke to a large audience of their experiences. For the same exhibit, Professor Charles Weiner of History moderated a panel discussion on the topic of nuclear history and Native Americans; one of the panelists was Professor Hugh Gusterson from Anthropology. For the exhibit featuring digital photography, The Ghost in the Machine, Dean William Mitchell participated in a panel discussion on computers and photography. For the exhibit The Masculine Masquerade, Professor Henry Jenkins co-organized an intensive film series with ten double features and a final symposium. The List Center also was the setting for what is becoming an annual Burchard Scholars event during the Golub/Spero exhibit at which the artists themselves led a gallery tour for the students.

The MIT Museum continued its close connections with specific departments. The growth of the holography collection and the development of a teaching holography laboratory as part of the hands-on MIT Museum experience are closely monitored and supported by Professor Stephen Benton and the Spatial Imaging Group of thw Media Lab. The architecture collection was augmented with works by former professors Désiré Despradelle and Eduardo Catalano, and plans are underway for a new exhibition featuring the work of Samuel V. Chamberlain '18AR; the Department of Architecture and the School of Architecture and Planning have worked closely with the Museum to build and exhibit the Architecture Collection. The Department of Ocean Engineering and John A. Lednicky '44OE helped to support a new exhibit for the Hart Nautical Galleries, including a scale model of the Liberty ship Zebulon B. Vance, commissioned for the collections by Hugh Parker '43OE. A separate report from the MIT Museum follows.

The Council for the Arts continued to make the arts on and off campus available to every student by continuing to support for the 14th consecutive year the Institute's membership in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), by inaugurating, with the support of Ronald Kurtz '54MG, a ticket program at the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), and by continuing to offer grants in the arts to applicants from the entire community.

Of great significance to the integration of the arts into the context and mission of the Institute is the recognition of the arts through a proportional share of Institute awards and honors. With the Killian Award, Institute Professorship, endowed chairs, and various other prizes and awards, this year has continued that pattern of increased recognition and integration.

Leadership in the Arts
In addition to achievements on campus, the MIT arts community has continued to expand its leadership internationally, nationally, and locally. The selection of the List Center, along with the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, as one of the inaugural presenters at the American Center in Paris is one indication of that reputation. The premieres and publications of MIT arts faculty receiving national attention, including Professors Brody, Child, Harbison, Lightman, and Ziporyn among others, is another. A separate report from Arts Communication details national and local media coverage of the arts at MIT.

Closer to home, the ticket program with the BSO was inaugurated as an experimental collaboration between MIT and the BSO to see if an institutional "subscription" modeled on the institutional membership of the MFA would succeed. This program, initiated by MIT, was enormously successful and will certainly be repeated and also, in all likelihood, replicated by the BSO and other area institutions.

The establishment of a teaching holography laboratory at the MIT Museum is a first. It will allow Museum visitors from visiting schoolchildren to MIT faculty to learn more about how a hologram is made. The laboratory was made possible through the generosity of alumnus A.R. Arulpragasam '77MA.

The MIT Museum is also in the forefront of the development of a state-of-the-art, multimedia-capable, networked collections management system, which has been named Swallow after MIT's first woman graduate, Ellen Swallow Richards. Members of the Museum staff and Center for Educational Computing Initiatives (CECI) personnel presented a panel session on this project at the international conference of the Museum Computer Network in Washington, D.C. in August, 1994. Because of its leadership, the MIT Museum is also the home site of the national Museum Computer Network.

MIT has also been chosen by the Knight and Pew Foundations as the potential site of their new Museum Loan Program, which will be completely funded by the two foundations and will create a national database of museum collections and support long-term collection loans for exhibition, especially between museums of disparate size. MIT was one of five institutions chosen to submit a proposal to become the national site for this project. Based on our preliminary proposal, MIT was named as first choice. Following expected approval by the Foundation boards in September, the Museum Loan Program will begin work at MIT on October 1, 1995.


Fund-raising for the arts is facilitated by Glenn Billingsley, Major Gifts Officer for the Arts. A significant part of our annual success is due to the generosity of the Council for the Arts, and a separate report from this group follows. Other initiatives are made to individuals not associated with the Council, to foundations, corporations, and public funding. Overall giving, including gifts-in-kind but not pledges, continued to rise this year, to $1,388,532 from $1,268,520 in FY94 and $1,097,512 in FY93.

Council for the Arts
Last year at this time, unrestricted annual gifts to the Council for the Arts were down, and concern was expressed in this report about the possibility of a trend; this year, it is a pleasure to report that it was not. Gifts to the Council were up to $201,265 from last year's low of $168,810. Further, the number of members making contributions was up as well to the highest level at least since the opening of the Office of the Arts. The annual budget of the Council is determined by the Executive Committee in consultation with the Director and Associate Provost. Annual giving must cover the budget in order for the Council to remain solvent. The annual fund supports such Council activities as the BSO ticket program, the MFA membership program, the CAMIT excursions to cultural events, the grants program in the arts for the entire MIT community and significant support for the List Visual Arts Center, the MIT Museum, the AIR Program and Arts Communication. The Council's annual fund is a life-line for the arts at MIT, and its strong showing this year is cause for a hope that this will become a trend.

Council members also make significant contributions in addition to the annual fund. In the past year, these contributions totalling $318,800 have helped to support, among other things, a growing endowment for the List Center, the holography collection at the MIT Museum, the Curator of Architecture at the MIT Museum, the Wasserman Forum, Dramashop productions, and the music practice rooms. A separate report on the Council follows.

Other Giving
Two significant gifts to the arts at MIT from individuals form the highlight of other giving. Council member Elliot Wolk has made possible the installation of two very large works by Frank Stella. One, which is an entire room, will be installed in the new Architecture studio space. The other will be hung in the Wolk Lobby of the Tang Center of the Sloan School. Atlanta resident Cherry Emerson has made the planned renovation of the Music Library a reality. Because of his leadership gift, action was begun on the plan, which needed significant revision. The revised plans are now being scheduled. It is hoped the entire renovation will take place in the summer of 1996 and that the new library, named the Rosalind Denny Lewis Library for the wife of "Doc" Warren K. Lewis, will be ready for the opening of the autumn semester 1996.

In addition to these gifts, the Museum has continued to receive significant funding from the Edgerton Trust for the continued development of the collection management system and the cataloguing of Edgerton materials. The Museum also received a grant of $25,000 from the Institute of Museum Services to help with the conservation of the Architectural Collections. The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts was established with an endowment.


The MIT Press had a banner year, as described in their separate report which follows. Not only did they exceed their sales forecast in books and significantly increase their gross sales in the Journals program, but they continued their leadership role in electronic publishing, received a grant of $150,000 from the Mellon Foundation to help support four wholly electronic journals, and through all of this activity remained first among university presses in dollar volume of sales per employee with the lowest ratio of salary of benefits to sales of any university press.

The management goals set by Professor Harris as chair of the Management Board were to strengthen the board and begin moving toward the creation of a clearer business relationship with the Institute. Important steps were taken in both areas. The agreement with the Institute that the Press will provide two percent of net sales of Press-owned books to MIT in support of graduate education in lieu of payments through the benefit pool is a welcome first step in clearing up the financial relationship between the Press and the Institute. The Board has also been enlarged and strengthened; this should be seen as a first step toward a new governance structure for the Press. In a particularly auspicious move, Vice President Glenn Strehle will assume chairmanship of the Management Board and oversight of the Press on July 1.


The Committee on Campus Race Relations (CCRR) completed its first full year. Among its accomplishments is the publication of the Guide to Studies in Racial, Ethnic and Intercultural Relations that offers a guide to subjects on race relations with appendices for subjects on cultural and language studies, student commentary on race relations at MIT, and information and application forms for the committee's grants program. The second edition was published last year and will be distributed to all incoming freshmen, to all freshman advisors, to all faculty, and to alumni members of Education Council. It is also available to all students on Registration Day and in various campus locations at all times.

CCRR has also established a grants program to encourage the community to initiate and implement projects, events, and curricular subjects that will help establish positive race relations. The Committee has worked to publicize its activities by establishing a bulletin board on the Infinite Corridor, making its materials available on TechInfo, and setting up a home page on the World Wide Web (HTTP://WEB.MIT.EDU/CCRR/WWW/). The entire committee is available to the community on e-mail (

CCRR is particularly proud to have set up a collaboration between students, the Community Service Center, and Timberland Co. as a corporate sponsor for a community service event that not only provided service to the Cambridge community but worked toward breaking down racial assumptions among MIT students. All parties, including Timberland, are enthusiastic about maintaining the collaboration into next year.

CCRR has prepared a full report on its first year that is available directly from the committee or on its home page.


The offices under the supervision of the Associate Provost for the Arts continue to have very strong representation of women on their staffs; there are fewer minorities, and it is our goal to increase this ratio. The programs of the Office of the Arts continue to highlight arts of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The Office of the Arts also oversees the List Fellowship Prize for Minorities in the Arts, and the Associate Provost chairs the presidentially-appointed Committee on Campus Race Relations.

Ellen T. Harris

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95