Kenneth D. Campbell, director of the News Office for 16 years under Presidents Paul E. Gray and Charles M. Vest, has announced he will retire June 30 and return to consulting and writing.
Campbell serves as chief spokesman for the Institute and has provided news judgment, public relations advice, research, writing and strategic guidance during a crucial period in the Institute's history.
The MIT News web page and the monthly publications, MIT Research Digest and MIT E-News , were launched under his supervision. He is the publisher of the official MIT community newspaper, MIT Tech Talk, and has strengthened MIT's news and public relations coverage of science, architecture and planning, and the humanities.
"Ken has brought extraordinary dedication to facts and to MIT in this key position. His common sense, analy-tical ability, writing ability and background in politics and news have been invaluable to MIT," Vest said. "He has been especially thoughtful and effective when MIT has had to deal with unusually complicated issues. It's been a privilege to work with him."
Kathryn Willmore, vice president and secretary of the Corporation, said, "Ken has led the News Office through a period of great change, from the days when the News Office put its news releases in the mail to today's world of instant communication and outreach - on the web and e-mail, as well as through the traditional modes of telephone, print and fax. Through it all, he has insisted that MIT be as forthcoming as possible on complex or controversial issues, as well as on the accomplishments of our faculty, students and staff. This guiding principle, and the transformation of the News Office operation, are hallmarks of the Campbell years."
Campbell said, "It has been a privilege to work for MIT. Paul Gray and Chuck Vest are leaders who make employees proud they work here. I will have served 17 years by June, and the time is right for early retirement and a new challenge. I'll restart my consulting business and do some writing."
The notable events and issues he has been involved with since 1986 have showcased the critical role that MIT plays nationally and internationally in education, research, economic development and science policy. For example, nine faculty members have won Nobel Prizes in economics, medicine and physiology, physics and chemistry in the past 16 years.
Campbell helped research, edit and publicize "MIT: The Impact of Innovation," a pioneering 1997 study by BankBoston that demonstrated the enormously positive impact MIT and its alumni have had on the local and national economies.
He played a key role in the successful 1993 effort to persuade the Justice Department to drop its case alleging that MIT's need-based financial aid was a violation of antitrust law.
Campbell, a Yale graduate, was a reporter for the Washington Star and editor for United Press International/London before becoming an investigative reporter, political reporter and columnist for the Boston Globe.
He also served as director of public information for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, director of public relations for the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and as president of Kenneth D. Campbell and Co., a management and communications consulting firm.
He was a co-founder of the Tent City Corporation, which negotiated the construction of mixed-income housing adjacent to Copley Place in Boston. He is an active member of Old South Church in Boston.
He lives in Brookline with his wife Susan. They have two grown children.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 2002.