Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Remembering Chuck Vest

MIT’s 15th president, who died last week, was responsible for today’s MIT Technology Review.

Chuck Vest took some time to get to know MIT before he assumed the office of president in 1990. That was how we met for the first time. He came to my office (I was the executive vice president and CEO of the MIT Alumni Association and publisher of Technology Review at the time). In his typical plainspoken fashion, he asked what the alumni would think of him. He said, “I am not an MIT faculty member nor an alumnus.” I replied, “Well, we have had one of those, Karl Taylor Compton … just do that well and you will be okay.” He said, “I really am at MIT …”

Check Vest
Charles M. Vest at work in the president’s office at MIT.

We worked very closely together to get Chuck and his wife, Becky, to meet and begin to know alumni worldwide. He traveled and listened to folks and often expressed his candid surprise and delight at being at MIT.

He led in a whole variety of ways, including championing MIT’s larger roles in the nation and the world. He counted on alumni to be models and ambassadors of the Institute. He spent countless hours in Washington campaigning for the ’Tute and the world of research universities. He took to that role with charm and a keen ear for what was needed to make the case for the university community as a whole. He led that community from the bully pulpit of MIT.

Not all of our time was a delight. We had our disagreements. However, one of those disagreements, over budgets, spawned an idea. Often when our prized publication Technology Review won accolades, MIT gloried in the credit. When we went even slightly over budget, no matter how much national acclaim we had, the Alumni Association and its publisher (me) took the heat. With Association presidents Bob Metcalfe (’68) and DuWayne Peterson (’55), Chuck and I finally argued the issue through. If MIT got the credit, MIT should get Technology Review, profits, deficits and all.

Bob, DuWayne, and I were sure he would not go for it. Chuck, in one of his several bold and unconventional moves said, yes: MIT would assume ownership ofTR and its successes and occasional cost overruns. So I lost a magazine publishing role and gained even more admiration for a plainspoken, canny risk taker.

Bill Hecht  ’61, Executive VP and CEO Emeritus
MIT Alumni Association

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.