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From the president

MIT will always be home

Four decades in the most stimulating square mile on the planet.

October 25, 2022
MIT President L.Rafael Reif
Simon Simard

When I was a student, first in Venezuela and then in the US, I never imagined that I would come to MIT. But once I got here, it quickly became clear that I would never leave.

As a junior faculty member, I was delighted by the stimulating company of MIT faculty, staff, and students. I had never seen anything like it—students who question you, push you, make you better … make you smarter. And then, of course, these inspiring students become inspiring alumni. 

From the start, I saw MIT as my home. But it was different then. On several sides, the campus bumped up against empty lots and half-abandoned buildings—a far cry from the “most innovative square mile on the planet.” You could barely get a sandwich in the area, much less stumble upon countless high-tech companies, startups, and entrepreneurs.

Much has changed at the Institute in 40 years, but not the caliber of the people who come here. The MIT community is, as it always has been, a place where bold, curious, quirky, determined people develop their talents and work together to make the world better. 

I am proud to be part of this community, where I have had the opportunity to take on several roles: professor, department head, provost, president … and yet, never alumnus. All this time, and I still don’t have an MIT degree! 

But I share with Institute alumni a profound appreciation for this special place. MIT is the most intense and exciting community I have ever been part of. It has been a privilege to serve as its president and to experience the energy, the vision, the sheer world-changing brilliance, of MIT’s great global family.

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