MIT’s wealth increases from $1.4B to $5.8B. And the $2B capital campaign goal approaches completion.
Eighteen of the 25 largest gifts from individuals in MIT history are received during Vest’s tenure.
Half of the current MIT faculty are hired since he took office in 1990.
Vest encourages the School of Science to expand research in the brain and cognitive sciences. During his tenure, MIT establishes the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Picower Center for Learning and Memory.
Under his leadership, new fields of research and scholarship are developed, such as nanotechnology (including creation of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies;) genomic medicine (creation of The Broad Institute,) biological engineering, engineering systems, and new media.
New methods are developed for teaching everything from first-year physics to communications and design.
Engineering education is revamped to include a five-year bachelor/master of engineering program.
Biology become a requirement for all undergrads.
MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program is created to recognize MIT’s great teachers.
Residential campus life is restructured to build a stronger student community. Outcome is all first-year students live on campus. And three new student residences and a sports and fitness center are built, all designed to encourage collaboration and social interaction among students and faculty.
MIT OpenCourseWare is established — MIT’s courses are posted online, available for free to anyone in the world with access to the Internet.
Cambridge-MIT Institute is created — a strategic partnership between MIT and Cambridge University to promote innovation and entrepreneurship through collaborative educational and research programs and student exchanges.
Singapore-MIT Alliance is established — an innovative collaboration that promotes global engineering education and research using advanced synchronous distance teaching technologies.
The Alliance for Global Sustainability is established — partnership of MIT, the University of Tokyo, the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden to develop new technologies and policies to support an agenda of sustainable development.
Vest champions a campus revitalization, hiring world-class architects to create the Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry; Simmons Hall, a residence by Steven Holl; the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo & Associates; the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Project by Goody, Clancy & Associates and Charles Correa; and the Media Lab Extension by Fumihiko Maki.
During his term, square footage through new construction is greater than the size of the whole campus when MIT moved from Boston to Cambridge in 1916.
When new buildings are complete, about a quarter of the campus will have been built since 1990, when he took office.
Vest supports financial aid based solely on need. In 1992, MIT goes to trial to fight the U.S. Justice Department contention that antitrust statutes were violated when Ivy League schools, including MIT, shared information about the financial needs of students admitted to more than one school. After a long court battle, the “MIT Standards of Conduct” resulted, enabling many colleges committed to need-based financial aid to exchange certain post-award data. The case also led to legislation that allows colleges to adopt a common method for measuring need.
Vest visits Washington more than 100 times, becomes a regular in Congress and a leading national advocate on science and research issues.
He visits Washington 80 more times to work on various boards. He serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, chairs the Task Force on the Future of Science Programs for the U.S. Department of Energy, and chairs the Committee on the Redesign of the International Space Station. He now serves on the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the U.S. Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Vest fosters innovative collaborations with universities, industries, and governments around the world.
After 9/11, Vest becomes a national spokesperson for the centrality of higher education and research to the nation’s well-being at a time when some national security policies appear to conflict with the concept of open research and education. “Knowledge creation thrives in openness and suffers in isolation,” Vest wrote in his 2001-02 annual report, which concluded with a set of recommendations to provide both the national security and openness necessary for research and education.
Vest admits that senior women faculty in the School of Science are discriminated against and takes steps to correct it. His leadership creates international attention, spurring reexamination of gender equity at universities across the U.S.
During his tenure, underrepresented minority undergrads increase from 14 to 20 percent, underrepresented minority grad students increase from 3 to 5 percent.
Women undergrads increase from 34 to 42 percent and women grad students increase from 20 to 29 percent.
More than two-thirds of MIT’s women faculty are hired since 1990.
MIT appoints the first woman department head in the School of Science; the first two minority department heads in the School of Engineering; and the first five women vice presidents.