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From the president

MIT’s values

A new statement defines the kind of community we aim
to create together.

MIT President L.Rafael Reif
Simon Simard

After more than a year of outreach, debate, community feedback, and revision, this spring the MIT Values Statement Committee presented the Institute with its first official values statement. Reflecting MIT’s distinctive character and designed to speak to all of us, in every role, the statement is a living document, subject to fine-tuning over time.

As the committee’s report makes clear, “no one expects the values statement to serve as a checklist or intends it as a hammer.” Rather, it expresses a promise we make to ourselves and to each other about the kind of community we aim to create together, in our shared pursuit of MIT’s mission

In other words, responsibility for living up to and fostering these values belongs to all of us.

A final note: The values statement includes a clear declaration around openness, free expression, and respect. In addition, the Working Group on Free Expression is responsible for a more expansive report and recommendations on these themes.

-L. Rafael Reif


Values Statement


Excellence and Curiosity

We strive for the highest standards of integrity and intellectual and creative excellence. We seek new knowledge and practical impact, in service to the nation and the world.

We prize originality, ingenuity, honesty, and boldness. We love discovery and exploration, invention, and making. We delight in the full spectrum of human wisdom.

Drawing strength from MIT’s distinctive roots, we believe in learning by doing, and we blur the boundaries between disciplines as we seek to solve hard problems. Embracing the unconventional, we welcome quirkiness, nerdiness, creative irreverence, and play.

We accept the risk of failing as a rung on the ladder of growth. With fearless curiosity, we question our assumptions, look outward, and learn from others

Openness and Respect

We champion the open sharing of information and ideas.

Because learning is nourished by a diversity of views, we cherish free expression, debate, and dialogue in pursuit of truth—and we commit to using these tools with respect for each other and our community.

We strive to be transparent and worthy of each other’s trust—and we challenge ourselves to face difficult facts, speak plainly about failings in our systems, and work to overcome them. We take special care not to overlook bad behavior or disrespect on the grounds of great accomplishment, talent, or power. 

Belonging and Community

We strive to make our community a humane and welcoming place where people from a diverse range of backgrounds can grow and thrive—and where we all feel that we belong.

We know that attending to our own and each other’s well-being in mind, body, and spirit is essential. We believe that decency, kindness, respect, and compassion for each other as human beings are signs of strength.

Valuing potential over pedigree, we know that talent and good ideas can come from anywhere—and we value one another’s contributions in every role.

Together we possess uncommon strengths, and we shoulder the responsibility to use them with wisdom and care for humanity and the natural world.

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