MIT has a distinctive mission and history that set us apart from other American universities. When the Institute was established 150 years ago, science had essentially no impact on the curriculum that was followed by most American university students. Our first president, William Barton Rogers, envisioned a new kind of academic institution — one that could, as he put it, "serve the times and the nation's needs."
Those principles have served us well, and today our work — in engineering, the natural and social sciences, the humanities and the arts — reaches people the world over. The Institute community extends far beyond Cambridge, embracing international partners and more than 100,000 alumni around the globe.
I believe the world has never needed MIT as much as it does now. The major challenges of our age are increasingly shaped by science and technology, and by daunting problems of quantitative analysis and complex synthesis. With MIT's expertise in interdisciplinary problem solving, the Institute has a unique opportunity, and a deep obligation, to make a critical difference — by creating the innovations, fueling the economy, and educating the leaders the world needs now.
In addressing these needs, we draw on an unwavering drive toward excellence, a spirit of innovation, a culture of collaboration, and a commitment to making an MIT education accessible to all who have the talents and ambition to benefit from our programs.
If you know MIT well, I hope that you already share my enthusiasm for this vibrant, energetic, and energizing place. If you are here to learn about us, the Bulletin will orient you not only to our courses of study but also to the Institute as a whole. And whether you are a new student, a candidate for admission, a parent, or an educator, let me offer you a warm welcome on behalf of MIT.
L. Rafael Reif