• President L. Rafael Reif

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

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Preview of an inauguration

In addition to marking the beginning of L. Rafael Reif’s term as MIT’s 17th president, the festivities will celebrate the MIT community’s ethic of service.


To celebrate the inauguration of L. Rafael Reif as the Institute’s 17th president, MIT will host a series of events that will explore collaborations within MIT, as well as the Institute’s innovations in technology, education and global engagement.  

The inaugural festivities, which will be held next week, from Sept. 19 to 22, will revolve around a central theme: “One Community, Together in Service.”

Prior to the inauguration ceremony — which will occur on Friday, Sept. 21 — MIT will host three academic symposia, all free and open to the community, on topics Reif views as central to the future of MIT.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, a symposium titled “Infinite Innovation” will explore the history of innovation at MIT, as well as advances in biological engineering, materials science, urban planning and media arts, among other fields. Later that day, students will participate in an elevator pitch contest, presenting their ideas and demonstrations to the community, as well as a panel of judges.

On Thursday, Sept. 20, the festivities will continue with a second symposium, “A Globally Engaged MIT,” where members of the MIT community will share their research and educational experiences around the world. The symposium will include a panel discussion with MIT faculty members who are presidents of the Institute’s partner universities abroad, including the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

That evening, an Inaugural Celebration Concert will honor Reif at Kresge Auditorium, featuring the Caracas Brass — a 10-member ensemble from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

The last symposium, on Friday, Sept. 21, will address the theme “The Future of Education.” In a series of panels and presentations, faculty members will talk about the role of technology in the classroom, and how to adapt to students’ changing interests and needs — both on campus and online.  

The week’s events will lead up to the formal inauguration ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. The ceremony will be held in Killian Court, where delegates from academic institutions around the world will join MIT faculty, students, staff, alumni and trustees in an academic procession along Memorial Drive into the courtyard. Following academic tradition, Reif will be last in line. After he is officially installed as president of MIT — and after MIT faculty, staff and students perform an original composition by Institute Professor John Harbison — Reif will deliver an inaugural address. In closing the ceremony, the academic procession will file off the stage in reverse order, led by the newly inaugurated president.

All are welcome at the inauguration ceremony; no tickets are required. A community reception will follow the ceremony in Killian Court.

The inaugural festivities will be capped off with a bit of fun: The MIT community is invited to take part in a number of events on Saturday, Sept. 22, including a community run dubbed the Beaver Dash — a “5K plus a few smoots” — to benefit Habitat for Humanity; a scavenger hunt around campus; and an Inaugural Global Barbecue, with food, live music and children’s games and activities.

For more information and a complete schedule of inaugural events, visit the Inauguration 2012 website.


Topics: Alumni/ae, Community, Faculty, History of MIT, Inauguration, MIT presidency, President L. Rafael Reif, Special events and guest speakers, Staff, Students, Provost

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