Personable robots, advanced prosthetics and entrepreneurship figure prominently in campus visit.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology awarded degrees today (June 9), to 1,794 seniors and graduate students at its 129th commencement. About 8,000 relatives and guests attended the outdoor exercises in Killian Court.
Because some students received more than one degree, the total number of degrees--2,026--exceeded the number of students receiving them. Altogether, 961 bachelor of science degrees and 1,065 advanced degrees were awarded. The advanced degrees included 232 doctorates, 818 master of science degrees and 15 engineer degrees.
The School of Engineering awarded the most degrees, 1,091, followed by the School of Management, 373; School of Science, 351; School of Architecture and Planning, 115; and School of Humanities and Social Science, 96.
The degree recipients included 509 women.
In the morning, prior to the exercises, the MIT Corporation, the Institute's board of trustees, elected two life and nine term members at its quarterly meeting. (See accompanying news release.)
In the afternoon, 23 graduating cadets and midshipmen in MIT's Army, Air Force and Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units will receive their commissions at the frigate USS Constitution berthed at the Charlestown Navy Yard Historical Park.
The formal commencement activities began with the traditional academic procession, led by the chief marshal, R. Gary Schweikhardt, 1994-95 president of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae. Dr. Paul E. Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation, presided at the exercises. The invocation was given by the Rev. Betsy Draper, MIT Baptist chaplain. The commencement speaker was Dr. Hanna H. Gray, former president of the University of Chicago. She told the graduates that much of the current criticism of higher education derives from a resistance to change, but that change is a positive force in universities. (See accompanying text and news release.)
MIT President Charles M. Vest, in his traditional charge to the graduates, offered a wish for a "life well-lived," but acknowledged that this would be a difficult achievement and require sacrifice in "a world permeated with both hope and despair."(See accompanying text and news release.)
Roger G. Kermode, president of the Graduate Student Council, delivered a salute to MIT from the graduate student body. Mehran Islam, president of the Class of 1995, presented the senior class gift to Dr. Vest, the Class of 1995 UROP Fund. At a time of federal cutbacks in UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) funding, 27 percent of the class committed themselves to raising $54,000 over the next five years to fund first-time UROP students in innovative and creative research. The money includes matching funds from the 50-year Class of 1945.
For the awarding of degrees, Dr. Vest presented diplomas to the bachelor of science degree recipients and also those receiving both bachelor of science and master of science degrees, while Provost Mark S. Wrighton gave out advanced degrees. The two lines of students approached the stage simultaneously, and the names were announced in an alternating pattern as the degrees were handed out.
Those receiving doctoral degrees already had been hooded in a special ceremony on the day before commencement in Rockwell Cage.
Following the commencement program, President Vest held a reception for graduates and their guests--and for alumni both of the 50th reunion Class of 1945 and the 25th reunion Class of 1970--at several locations in or near McDermott Court.