ORIGINS AND Leadership
The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter. The opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America.
Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle—continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools encompass numerous academic departments, divisions, and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.
Presidents of the Institute
L. Rafael Reif, 2012–
Susan Hockfield, 2004–2012
Charles Marstiller Vest, 1990–2004
Paul Edward Gray, 1980–90
Jerome Bert Wiesner, 1971–80
Howard Wesley Johnson, 1966–71
Julius Adams Stratton, 1959–66
James Rhyne Killian, Jr., 1948–58
Karl Taylor Compton, 1930–48
Samuel Wesley Stratton, 1923–30
Ernest Fox Nichols, 1921–22
Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, 1909–20
Henry Smith Pritchett, 1900–07
James Mason Crafts, 1897–1900
Francis Amasa Walker,1881–97
John Daniel Runkle, 1870–78
William Barton Rogers, 1862–70, 1879–81
The Institute’s chief executive officer is the president. Senior academic and administrative officers include the chancellor, provost, executive vice president, associate provost, deans of the schools, vice presidents, dean for graduate education, dean for undergraduate education, dean for student life, director of digital learning, director of the Institute Libraries, and Institute community and equity officer. The Institute’s academic departments and divisions—each under the leadership of a head, director, or associate dean—are organized within the five schools. In addition, numerous interdisciplinary laboratories and centers have been organized to facilitate research in fields that extend across traditional boundaries.
The MIT Faculty determines the Institute's educational policy. The Faculty meets monthly and conducts much of its business through elected standing committees.
The Institute's board of trustees, known as the Corporation, includes 70 distinguished leaders in engineering, science, industry, education, and other professions, and (ex officio) the MIT chairman, president, executive vice president and treasurer, secretary of the Corporation, president of the Alumni Association, and three representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Corporation also includes approximately 35 emeritus members. Approximately 80 percent of the members of the Corporation are alumni of MIT.