MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 5
May / June 2019
The Danger to Civilian Science
from the Growing Pentagon Budget
Greetings to You the Graduates –
And to Your Families!
Time to Up Our Game
An Update on MIT's Climate Action Plan
Rick Danheiser New Faculty Chair
Random Faculty Dinner Notes
Academic Year 2018-2019
Hayden Library Renovation:
What You Should Know
Introducing the Faculty Committee
on Campus Planning
Should MIT Break All Ties With Saudi Arabia?
U. S. Discretionary Spending 2017
Printable Version

Greetings to You the Graduates – And to Your Families!

Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board

We join with the thousands of family members and friends gathered for Commencement in sharing the excitement of your graduation. MIT’s Faculty value and take pride in your accomplishments as MIT’s new class of 2019. Teaching and mentoring you has been a source of deep satisfaction. As you have learned and grown, absorbing and generating knowledge and new insights, so have we. Now, as you take the next steps along career paths, your contributions to your communities and to society will be among the most gratifying outcomes of our academic efforts.

You will be entering a world of considerable uncertainty and an increased level of social and political polarization. After the last Presidential election, you rose to the challenges presented by the new administration and its method of governing.

Many of you joined efforts to protect international members of our community from the threat of exclusion or deportation. You became attentive to issues such as immigration, climate change, nuclear disarmament, the reduction of global poverty, and the need to protect fundamental democratic rights. Many of you joined or supported the Women’s March, the March for Science, and the March for Climate.

The values of scientific investigation and assessment, previously taken for granted, have now become arenas for contention and even denial. Defending these values will require the urgent involvement of us all. In the international area, conflicts among nations that may have once seemed very far away have intensified. We have to take more seriously our responsibilities as citizens to ensure that our nation’s actions in the world increase the prospects of peace and prosperity for the world’s peoples, rather than undermining them.
During your time here the campus experienced a revival in student engagement. Examples include the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign; the creative Days of Engagement after the Presidential election; the continuing opposition to MIT’s agreements with the Saudi Arabian monarchy; the campus die-in led by Black students; the protest and counter forum to Henry Kissinger’s role as spokesperson for ethics in artificial intelligence; the revival of MIT Students Against War; and many other expressions of social, economic, and political concerns.

We hope you will look back on your years at the Institute aware that your presence and involvement contributed to enhancing the MIT environment and experience for the coming classes. Note that by remaining active as alumni you can continue to have a positive impact on the Institute’s work and environment.

During your years with us, we on the faculty have watched the burgeoning of your many talents, your creative ambitions, your resilience in the face of setbacks, your thoughtful and quirky self-expression, your creative and entrepreneurial energy, and your myriad achievements. We hope that, as your various individual paths unfold, you will put your powers to work on solving some of the problems that confront us all, and on making our society more responsibly productive and more supportive of those in need. On behalf of the entire Faculty, we wish you vision, strength, commitment, wisdom, success, and much happiness in addressing these challenges.

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