From MIT President Emeritus Charles M. Vest

A collection of Dr. Vest's speeches, interviews and other communications, provided by the President's Office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Profile of Dr. Vest
Timeline of the Vest Years
Ponder the Unthinkable, Create What Could Be
Dr. Vest's charge to the graduates at MIT's 138th Commencement, June 4, 2004.
Moving On
Dr. Charles M. Vest's annual report for the academic years 2002-2004.
Challenges Past, Present, and Future
Excerpts from Dr. Charles M. Vest's remarks at MIT's 30th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., February 5, 2004.
Openness and Security: Problems, Progress, and Opportunity
Dr. Charles M. Vest's remarks at the Annual Luncheon of the Council of Presidents, Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, New Orleans, November 17, 2003.
A Message from Dr. Vest, March 20, 2003
An open letter from Dr. Vest to the MIT community on issues affecting the Institute in a time of armed conflict: emergency preparedness; the importance of a supportive, caring community; and the right to freedom of expression.
Response and Responsibility: Balancing Security and Openness in Research and Education
Dr. Charles M. Vest's annual report for the academic year 2001-02, which examines the balance that must be struck if the United States is to remain secure against terrorism while maintaining the openness necessary for research and education. This report is also available in pdf format.
Education for a New Era
Dr. Charles M. Vest's remarks on the occasion of the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education, London, February 14, 2001.
Building Program Update: A Special Report from the Office of the President
This special report, issued as a supplement to the May 31, 2000, issue of MIT Tech Talk, reviews plans for the most ambitious effort to improve and enhance the physical campus and infrastructure of the Institute in more than 30 years. (This report is in pdf format.)
Not What We Think: What We Haven't Thought Of
Dr. Vest's keynote address at the Jerome B. Wiesner Symposium on the Future of the Government/University Partnership, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 26, 1996.
Higher Education—A Key Economic Asset
Dr. Vest's address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, January 1996.
U.S. Engineering Education in Transition
Dr. Vest's address to the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering, September 28, 1995.
Reflections on Institutional and Individual Leadership
Address to the Alumni/ae Leadership Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 16, 1995.
In Search of Mediocrity: Is America Losing its Will To Excel?
A speech delivered to the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., July 18, 1995.
The Importance of Diversity in the MIT Community
This statement was first published in Tech Talk, January 12, 1994, and reissued in March 22, 1995.
Learning in a Research University
A letter to the parents of MIT undergraduates, published in MIT Parents News, Spring 1994.
The Arts and Creativity at MIT
This interview was first published in Tech Talk, February 10, 1993. (Links to a site maintained by the MIT Office of the Arts.)
The Inaugural Address
Delivered at Charles Vest's inauguration as the 15th President of MIT, May 10, 1991.

Annual Reports of the President

Addressed by Dr. Vest to the Institute community, these reports are prepared for publication in conjunction with the annual reports submitted to the President by the academic and administrative units of the Institute.

Photo by Donna Coveney.

Updated May 2005.

© Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005. To reprint or excerpt for publication, please contact Laura Mersky at

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