ORIGINS AND Leadership
The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter, and admitted its first woman student shortly thereafter in 1871. MIT's 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. Rogers stressed the pragmatic and practicable. He believed that professional competence is best fostered by coupling teaching and research and by focusing attention on real-world problems. Toward this end, he pioneered the development of the teaching laboratory.
Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world and transforming society for the better as guiding principles—continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed.
Presidents of the Institute
L. Rafael Reif, 2012–
Susan Hockfield, 2004–2012
Charles Marstiller Vest, 1990–2004
Paul Edward Gray, 1980–1990
Jerome Bert Wiesner, 1971–1980
Howard Wesley Johnson, 1966–1971
Julius Adams Stratton, 1959–1966
James Rhyne Killian, Jr., 1948–1958
Karl Taylor Compton, 1930–1948
Samuel Wesley Stratton, 1923–1930
Ernest Fox Nichols, 1921–1922
Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, 1909–1920
Henry Smith Pritchett, 1900–1907
James Mason Crafts, 1897–1900
Francis Amasa Walker, 1881–1897
John Daniel Runkle, 1870–1878
William Barton Rogers, 1862–1870, 1879–1881
The Institute’s chief executive officer is the president. Senior academic and administrative officers include the provost; chancellor; executive vice president and treasurer; senior vice president and secretary of the Corporation; associate provosts; deans of the schools, undergraduate and graduate education, and digital learning; vice presidents, and vice president and dean for student life; chancellor for academic advancement; director of libraries; Institute community and equity officer; and deputy executive vice president.
MIT's academic departments and institutes—each under the leadership of a head or director—are organized within five schools that encompass numerous degree-granting programs and interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental 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 78 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 some 35 emeritus members. Approximately 75% of the members of the Corporation are alumni of MIT.