MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The mission of Public Relations Services is to help enhance public understanding and support of MIT, and of higher education and research more generally, and to enhance the community life of the Institute through communications and special events. The past year saw a number of significant transitions in organization and operations.

Following in-depth reviews of changing publishing needs and of the savings that could be obtained through supplier consolidation, it was announced at the beginning of the fiscal year that the Office of Design Services, as well as the offset printing, photographic, and illustration operations in the Graphic Arts Department, would be closed and that a new Publishing Services Bureau (PSB) would be established to coordinate the design and production of the Institute's publications.

Reporting jointly to the Director of Public Relations Services and to the Senior Vice President, the new Bureau assists departments in the planning of both print and electronic publications, matches Institute publishers with appropriate outside vendors, and acts as purchasing agent for all MIT publications-related purchases. An intensive search process resulted in the selection of Bruce Bernstein as Director of the Bureau. As Associate Director of Admissions, he had previously been responsible for award-winning publications that have contributed greatly to the Institute's success in recruiting the country's most talented college applicants. Barrie Gleason, Director of the Communications Office, gave unstintingly of her time in the study process that led to the creation of the Bureau and in the months in which it took shape.

The distinguished standards they set for Institute publications will be an enduring legacy from the many talented people in the Office of Design Services. Great thanks are due to departing Director Celia Metcalf and her staff for their assistance in the transition period during the fall and winter preceding the opening of the PSB.

Retirements under the Institute's special retirement incentive program meant the departure of three greatly respected senior staff from the News Office. In the wake of these departures, director Kenneth D. Campbell worked to reorganize office operations, recognize the accomplishments of current staff, and hire new personnel from outside the Institute to handle the Office's demanding workload.

Staff in Public Relations Services play vital roles in the Institute's great annual ritual of transition at Commencement; this year they also managed a very special community celebration in honor of Dr. Paul E. Gray and Mrs. Priscilla K. Gray, marking the close of Dr. Gray's service as chairman of the MIT Corporation.

In the Director's office, Gina S. Kent left to move with her family away from the Cambridge area, and Michael A. Baenen, formerly in the Dean's Office in the School of Architecture and Planning, assumed the responsibilities as Administrative Assistant.

The Director devoted much of her own effort to ongoing and new initiatives designed to bring together those with a responsibility for communications activities in individual departments across the Institute. The informal Public Relations Working Group and the larger Information Group continued to serve as sounding boards on current issues and initiatives as well as forums for news and ideas. A December retreat that included twenty leaders in the Institute's faculty and administration helped staff in the President's Office as they studied the establishment of a new senior communications position reporting to the President, the search for which was expected to begin as the year 1997-98 began.

Kathryn A. Willmore


The Communications Office publishes official reference information on MIT's educational, research, administrative, and financial policies and programs that is current, accurate, and accessible, in print and electronic versions; distributes publications and disseminates information available through the office. In conjunction with the Publishing Services Bureau (PSB), the Office advises and assists the MIT community regarding publishing policies and procedures.


Staff in the Communications Office have established a strong record of support for the Institute's change efforts by participating on reengineering teams charged with redesign of MIT's publishing services and at the same time managing publishing business-as-usual. This year saw a milestone event in these efforts: approval by senior administration of the new Publishing Services Bureau and the hiring of its director in October 1996.

PSB's business plan clarifies the vision for a new way of doing business, which includes a "strategic alliance" with the Communications Office. In its role as customer of and partner with the Bureau, the Communications Office will provide advice to other departments as well as utilize innovative information management in the production and distribution of the Institute's core reference publications.

Second, in collaboration with Information Systems, the Office completed the discovery phase of its project to publish the "blue pages" of the telephone directories on-line. Information on MIT's offices and programs will be stored in a database, from which staff can produce a World Wide Web version (updated on an ongoing basis) and print version (published annually).

Third, the Office continues to work closely with offices in student services to review the publications that currently serve undergraduate and graduate students, an effort that entails understanding how these communications work, how they work together, and the extent to which they are effective.

Fourth, since the presence of the Reports to the President on the World Wide Web gives it a much wider audience, the Communications Office distributed a comprehensive set of style guidelines to report authors this year. These guidelines will help to ensure that the Institute publishes annual reports that present information in a consistent fashion.

Finally, there were innovations in the cover design for three publications. The Directory covers featured the work of Felice Frankel, artist-in-residence at MIT's Edgerton Center and visiting lecturer in Course 6, and of one of her students. The cover of the MIT Bulletin 1997-98, featured a lively new image of Lobby 7, created by designer Tim Moore, which earned rave reviews. The Office produced a poster of the original, which has been used widely by administrative offices for gifts and tokens of appreciation, and is on sale at various campus locations.


The Communications Office plans the following for the new fiscal year:


Administrative staff stepped into "larger shoes" this year when they received promotions within the Communications Office: Ruth T. Davis, from Editor and Production Manager to Publications Manager; and Barrie Gleason, from Manager to Director, Communications Office. After many years of service at MIT, Marianne Charny left with her family for Cambodia, where her husband accepted a position with the United Nations. The Office welcomed a talented new contributor to the team, Shannon McCord, in November.

More information about the Communications Office can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL: /

Barrie Gleason


The office's mission is to meet the informational needs of the MIT community, visitors to the campus, and the public; to promote a sense of community within MIT; and to support conferences and events which enhance MIT's role in the broader academic community.


During the past year, the Center served as a point of information and welcome to visitors, as well as a central information source for members of the MIT community. Staff in the center distributed over 46,400 pamphlets, brochures, maps, guides, and catalogues; answered and directed to other offices thousands of telephone and in-person inquiries; and served as a clearinghouse for mail addressed simply to MIT. Head guide for campus tours was Alif Chaudhry, '97, in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who handled the scheduling of the tours while Terri Priest, staff associate in the Center, trained 23 student guides who conducted tours for 13,142 visitors, of whom 4,529 were prospective students, 1,665 international visitors, and the remaining guests visiting MIT. Terri Priest arranged programs for 49 short-term visits which brought 781 guests to campus. The coming year will see a more concentrated focus on the short-term visits by Ms. Priest.

The Center also handled the arrangements for more than 200 recruitment presentations by companies and other organizations that visit MIT under the auspices of the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising.

In the realm of community events, the Hooding Ceremony for 390 doctoral degree recipients, held in Rockwell Cage the afternoon before Commencement, was once again a success. Over 70 faculty members representing all the departments were on hand to help celebrate, as dean for graduate education J. David Litster and the relevant departmental representative presented each candidate with his or her doctoral hood.

The 131st Commencement Exercises were enhanced by the presence of alumni and alumnae returning for reunions and Technology Day. His Excellency Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was the guest speaker, and President Vest gave the charge to the candidates and a salute to Paul E. Gray, who presided over his final Commencement as Chairman of the MIT Corporation. Killian Court was sunlit and the day extraordinary for 2,280 seniors, graduate students, alumni and alumnae, family and friends.

The Center assisted with the logistical arrangements for the Annual Retirement Dinner in September in the Johnson Athletics Center, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Research Laboratory of Electronics in November, the Dedication of the Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library in December, the Community Celebration for Paul and Priscilla Gray on 8 April, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on 10 April. This year's Killian Award Lecture, delivered by Professor Gian-Carlo Rota, was held on 5 March. Sadly, memorial services were arranged for Gordon S. Brown and Thomas S. Kuhn in November.


The office of Conference Services manages the logistical arrangements for conferences and meetings sponsored by MIT faculty and staff. This past year, the Office coordinated 25 such events - ranging in size from 10 to 2,000 - which brought more than 10,000 visitors from all over the world to the campus. These included the Global Accords Symposium, the International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Removal, the British Approval Board of Telecommunicators meeting, the Whitehead Institute Annual Symposium, the North American Power Symposium, the Participatory Design Symposium, the Alliance for Global Sustainability Symposium, the American Computer Experience Summer Camp, Oxford Study Program, Regent Language Training Program, the Massachusetts Special Olympics Summer Games, the English/Japanese Exchange Program, Career Connection Fair, the New England Conference on Technology and Education, Massachusetts Future Problem Solving Bowl, Massachusetts Biotechnolgoy Council Symposium and Exposition, the AAU Deans Meeting, and a Symposium for Senior Congressional Staff.

This year the office began collaboration with the Industrial Liaison Program in providing assistance with their conference management. The events included conferences on Distance Learning, Design Studio, Intellectual Property, and the Annual Research Directors Meeting. We look forward to increasing this collaboration in the coming year and to further enhancing the registration capabilities via the World Wide Web for all events. The Conference Services staff has responsibility for the events registration process for non-student events; this year 150 applications were approved.


The Center, under the direction of Gayle Fitzgerald, includes Kathleen Barrett and Terri Priest as Staff Associates for information dissemination, tour operations and short-term visits; Donald Ferland as Administrative Secretary to the Director with responsibilities for Commencement and the recruitment presentations; Cathi Di Iulio and Marie Seamon, Conference Coordinators; and Brian McCarthy who provides database assistance to Cathi and Marie within the Conference Services Office. Brian replaced Tara Osborn who left MIT in February.

Gayle M. Fitzgerald


The mission of the News Office is to achieve the highest level of public interest in MIT by finding and reporting newsworthy stories and photographs about MIT and its people; encouraging and assisting reporters to develop their own stories here; publishing the official newspaper, MIT Tech Talk; monitoring internal and external developments that might bring favorable or unfavorable public attention, and handling them with integrity in the best interest of MIT.


This has been a year of constant change in the News Office. It began with a retirement party for three veteran staffers, Joanne Miller, Charles Ball and Robert DiIorio, who left behind them 85 years of experience in the News Office. Despite being short three administrative staff, the News Office undertook two very ambitious projects: publicity for the BankBoston study of the economic impact of MIT graduates, released in March, and compilation of a Medical Experts Guide to the research interests of nearly 200 faculty and research staff, which will be published in August of 1997. In addition, of the 33 issues of MIT Tech Talk published, six were 12-page issues (including one on October 30 that featured a four-page special section on the 50th anniversary of the Research Laboratory of Electronics). Nearly 100 press releases were issued and MIT Research Digest was published 11 times.


The News Office produced numerous press releases and Tech Talk stories in 1996-97 on ground-breaking research and MIT's overall impact. Among the most significant was the January story on the world's first atom laser developed by Professor Wolfgang Ketterle and colleagues. The device, a long-sought goal in physics, is analogous to an optical laser but emits atoms instead of light. The atom laser could have a variety of applications in fundamental research and in industry, doing for tasks involving atoms what the optical laser did for light.

In March, the News Office and BankBoston released MIT: The Impact of Innovation, the first national study of the economic impact of a research university. BankBoston reported that graduates of MIT have founded 4,000 firms which, in 1994 alone, employed 1.1 million people and generated $232 billion of world sales. If those companies founded by MIT graduates and faculty formed an independent nation, their revenues would make that nation the 24th-largest economy in the world, the report noted.

Headlines of other important MIT stories included the following:


The News Office sent out or responded to requests by the local, national and world media for 70 different photographs taken by News Office photojournalist Donna Coveney including research stories, feature stories, portraits of faculty, Commencement, and general campus shots. The Associated Press, which provides photographs to newspapers and television as part of its world-wide news service, is our largest customer.

The most frequent requests for photos were for Wolfgang Ketterle's atom laser research (17, including Time, The Washington Post, AP, Science and Vie, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Knight- Ridder, Panorama, Industry Week and The Boston Globe). Other major stories were the Penguin boat (15 requests, including National Geographic, Der Spiegel, Discover, Popular Science, Wired, New Scientist, R&D magazine, and The Boston Herald); Robotuna (10 requests); James McLurkin and his Robotic Ants (10 requests); the finger ring for patient care monitoring from Professor Harry Asada's lab (seven requests including R&D magazine, Focus magazine, and Newsday). Other publications ordering photos from Donna and photo clerk Mary Anne Hansen included Jet, Ebony, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Discover magazine, Chemical and Engineering News, the Dallas Morning News, and The Los Angeles Times. The Black Physics Students conference went out to AP, and select magazines and newspapers.

In addition, the News Office sent out to the AP, The New York Times and The Boston Globe and Boston Herald many archival and historic photographs provided by the MIT Museum or the MIT Archives, usually in connection with an obituary written by the News Office.


The News Office also did a study of its staffing needs, concluding that the office needed a second science writer and an additional support staff person. The Administration in September approved the additional resources for news about MIT.

A new associate director, Robert J. Sales, former executive editor of the Boston Herald, was hired in December, and took over much of the writing of articles for Tech Talk. Kathleen Rowe, assistant director for media relations since 1993, left MIT to take a job with a public relations firm. Also in December, Alice Waugh, assistant editor/staff writer for the previous three years, moved smoothly into the editor's chair and performed the editing and layout for Tech Talk by herself during all of 1996-97. Sarah Wright was hired in March as a temporary staff writer and in June, took on additional duties for science writing and PR because of the maternity leave of Elizabeth Thomson, assistant director for science and engineering news, who split her work this year between news, editing stories for the Research Digest, and the painstaking editing of the medical expert guide. Elizabeth gave birth to Marc Edward Plageman on June 1. Donna Coveney, assistant director and staff photojournalist, entered the digital age in June with new computer equipment for negative and slide scanning and editing. Mary Anne Hansen, with the office since 1995, was promoted in March to administrative secretary, a new position. LaKeitha Evelyn, a recent graduate of Simmons College and former staff member in constituent services and accounting at Boston City Hall, joined the office in May as senior office assistant and receptionist. Thanks are due to Mary Anne Hansen; Lisa Damtoft, design and editorial assistant and production manager for the Research Digest; and Myles Crowley, administrative assistant and office/computer manager, all of whom took on additional work in this transitional period with true professionalism and spirit. Also, special thanks to Stephanie Gellar, MIT '94, for work above and beyond the call of duty on the medical experts guide this past year. Stephanie's part-time work for the News Office over four years ended June 30. Denise Brehm, administrative assistant and writer in Civil and Environmental Engineering since 1994, will join the News Office in July 1997 as an assistant editor/staff writer. Three other positions were expected to be filled early in the fall.

More information about the News Office can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Kenneth D. Campbell


The Publishing Services Bureau opened its doors the first week of February, providing a single coordinated channel for publishing activities across the Institute, applying the principles of supplier consolidation, strategic planning, technological awareness, cost savings, excellence in design, continuous learning, and customer satisfaction.


Nine individuals were hired by the director to form the core of the PSB team. Six had worked previously at MIT. Rick Frye, Jean Caloggero, and Andy Barnes, representing the Purchasing Office for graphic arts now comprise the purchasing component of PSB. Brian Ellis, assistant broker, was formerly an administrative assistant in the Educational Council Office and Robin Dey, administrative assistant, previously worked in Admissions. Kate Miller, electronic broker, returned to MIT after working two years as a project coordinator for a Cambridge-based consulting firm.

Three team members are new to MIT. Tim Blackburn, designer, was an associate at Sametz Blackstone; Kelly Powell, print/design broker, was an operations manager from Northeastern's publications department; and Elizabeth Brinkerhoff, print/design broker, was an instructor in the graphics design program at the University of Memphis.

Within five months, PSB coordinated the production of over 600 jobs. With the help of a new database, the Bureau now tracks all aspects of publishing activities for jobs passing through the Bureau, creating both a baseline for the analysis of design, production, and printing costs as well as the creation of an archived job history.

As part of an initial promotional campaign, PSB created an "under construction" Web site that garnered enthusiastic responses from across campus and a capabilities brochure that won a CASE silver "Circle of Excellence" award for low-cost publications.

PSB also began the first step in the supplier consolidation process by mailing a "Request for Solutions" to nearly 500 print vendors and 150 design vendors. By the end of June, the office had received proposals from nearly 250 print vendors and 100 design and creative vendors.

PSB partnerships with both the Communications Office and Campus Wide Information Systems have led to the exchange of ideas and information about related business processes and aligned planning activities, providing seamless support interface for MIT customers in the area of electronic publishing and strategic print planning.

PSB has coordinated nearly 15 electronic publishing projects with CWIS and has collaborated on several variations of the main MIT home page. Pursuing the concept of "offices with invisible walls," CWIS maintains two desks in the Bureau space and shares computer and software resources.

Strategic alliance with the Communications Office has led to a relationship in which PSB plays a role as both a broker and a partner; in addition to advising Communications on their own publishing projects, the organizations have joined together to model and publicize effective publishing processes. Ongoing efforts include publication plan projects for Leaders for Manufacturing, Student Services, the Planning Office, and the Admissions Office.

Other partners at MIT include the Copy Technology Center, Mail Services, and Document Services, with PSB working to promote the services of these groups at MIT and establish smoother lines of communication and workflow.

As part of its effort to establish equity in an MIT identity system, PSB has taken on several projects to design publications for high-level or high-visibility publishing efforts. These projects will be developed into templates for the entire MIT community. The Freshman Handbook, the Freshman Advising Seminar Guide, the MIT Museum awareness card, and a new logo for the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program, as well as a coordinated letterhead/business card system for several student services departments, will be a springboard for future PSB work with the MIT identity.



At the end of June, Robin Dey left PSB to spend her summer studying desktop publishing and in September will begin as a marketing intern for a local architectural firm. PSB is currently conducting a search for a new administrative assistant.

More information about the Publishing Services Bureau can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Bruce Bernstein

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97