MIT Names First Woman President
Dr. Susan Hockfield, a distinguished neuroscientist and current provost at Yale University, has been selected the 16th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, succeeding Dr. Charles M. Vest, who has led one of the world’s foremost research universities for the past 14 years.
Hockfield was elected by the MIT Corp. during a special meeting late last month. She is expected to take office in early December.
“As a strong advocate of the vital role that science, technology and the research university play in the world, and with an exceptional record of achievement in serving faculty and student interests, Dr. Hockfield is clearly the best person to lead MIT in the years ahead,” said Dr. Dana G. Mead, chairman of MIT Corp. “She brings to MIT an outstanding record as teacher, scientist and inspirational leader with a reputation for bringing out the best in all the people with whom she works.”
The William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology, Hockfield joined the Yale faculty in 1985. She was promoted to full professor in 1994 and quickly rose to the center of leadership at Yale, first as dean of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1998-2002), with oversight of over 70 graduate programs, and then as provost, the university’s chief academic and administrative officer, with oversight of the university’s 12 schools.
Among other priorities, Hockfield says she intends to use her new position to encourage collaborative work among MIT’s outstanding schools, departments, and interdisciplinary laboratories and centers to keep the Institute at the forefront of innovation. She sees MIT’s strength in engineering uniquely positioning the Institute to pioneer newly evolving, interdisciplinary areas and to translate them into practice. She also hopes to accelerate the national discussion on improving K-12 science and math education. She believes strongly in the value that international students and scholars bring to the educational and research programs of American universities, and in the importance of American universities working closely with leading academic centers around the world.
In her work as a neuroscientist, Hockfield pioneered the use of monoclonal antibody technology in brain research, leading to her discovery of a protein that regulates changes in neuronal structure as a result of an animal’s experience in early life. More recently, she discovered a gene and its family of protein products that play a critical role in the spread of cancer in the brain and may represent new therapeutic targets for brain cancer.
Hockfield received her bachelor’s in biology from the University of Rochester in 1973, and earned a Ph.D. in anatomy and neuroscience from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1979.
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com