MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay announced Oct. 19 that Larry Benedict, MIT's dean for student life since 2000, is retiring at the end of the academic year.
In an e-mail letter to students, faculty and staff, Clay wrote, "In his nearly eight years of leadership and service to MIT, Dean Benedict has compiled a remarkable record of achievement and has been instrumental in transforming the way we approach student life on campus today.
"Upon his arrival at MIT, Dean Benedict's first task was to shape what we now know as the Division of Student Life. At that time, the functions of what are now called DSL (Division of Student Life) and DUE (Dean for Undergraduate Education) were combined into a single office.
"In addition to developing a new organization, Dean Benedict presided over the initiation of many new programs, developed major new facilities on campus, improved systems and operations, refurbished residence halls, and supported the revitalization of the FSILG system.
"Dean Benedict implemented a number of new initiatives to improve the student life experience, including the addition of residential dining halls, dining, counseling, and public service opportunities. He has empowered student leaders and initiated new programs in leadership development.
"Dean Benedict reinvigorated the housemaster system by adding new housemaster programs to graduate residences and by appointing many new housemasters, all of whom have brought new energy and vision to their residential programs.
"There is no question that the MIT student experience has greatly improved over the last eight years due in large part to the vision, integrity, energy and unwavering commitment of Dean Benedict.
"I have appointed a search advisory committee that will begin meeting immediately to identify a short list of candidates to succeed Dean Benedict. Professor Steven R. Lerman, Dean for Graduate Students, will chair the committee, which will include Professors Kerry A. Emanuel, Ann E. McCants, Muriel Medard and Marcus A. Thompson. John diFava, director of security and chief of police; Alison Alden, vice president for human resources, and Steve Baker, president of the Association of Independent Living Groups, will also serve on the committee. The Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council will each nominate a student to serve on the committee as well."