Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Associate Professor Leo Osgood Jr., a member of the Office of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs and the Department of Athletics for 18 years, has been appointed director of MIT's Office of Minority Education, effective February 1.
The appointment, reported in The Tech earlier this month, was announced formally this week by Professor Arthur C. Smith, dean of undergraduate education and student affairs, to whom the director of the OME reports.
Professor Osgood is MIT's head basketball coach and the Institute's "on-call" dean, handling student emergencies after normal business hours on weekdays and during weekends. He came to MIT in 1977 as assistant coach and in 1983 became associate coach and assistant dean for student affairs in the counseling section. He has been dean on call and head coach for nine years. He plans to end his coaching career at the conclusion of this season.
The appointment of Professor Osgood was enthusiastically recommended by a search committee headed by Professor Rafael Bras, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. There were about 140 applicants for the post. It became open in September when Dean Judy Jackson resigned to pursue a doctoral program in education at Harvard. Professor Emeritus David Gordon Wilson of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been serving as interim OME director.
"Professor Bras's committee, in recommending Professor Osgood for the position, said he had all the qualities that a dean of the OME should have," Professor Smith said. "I agree completely with the committee's assessment. Leo Osgood has a wealth of experience at MIT. He understands the Institute and he understands MIT students. He has served as assistant counseling dean in the Office of Student Affairs and has been both a board member and a liaison to the OME over the years."
The new OME dean has also been involved with Project Interphase, an OME program for minority students held the summer before they matriculate at MIT.
Professor Osgood also has served for several years on MIT's Martin Luther King Jr. Committee and is currently its co-chairman with Professor Michael S. Feld of the Department of Physics. The MLK Committee conceived and developed the concept for a new program to increase the presence of minority scholars on campus-the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholars Program. That program was formally announced earlier this month by Provost Mark S. Wrighton.
Professor Osgood has been active as well in efforts to foster the development of the minority members of the MIT staff. He co-chaired a presidential task force for career development of minority administrators at the Institute which filed its report three years ago.
Professor Osgood holds the BS degree in business administration and the MS in education, both from Northeastern University. He was a highly successful basketball player at Northeastern and was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
A native of Charleston, SC, Professor Osgood came to Boston as a young boy. He has been active for years in programs for city youth. In 1990 he represented MIT in the YMCA's Black Achievers Program. In nominating him for the program, the late MIT vice president Constantine B. Simonides, to whom the Department of Athletics reported, said: "Leo Osgood is a leader. He is someone that young people can look up to for his accomplishments. He is a disciplined coach who is both kind and tough, a combination that may be a requirement for success at MIT, but represents a balance very difficult to achieve."
Professor Osgood was the first president of the Northeastern University Black Alumni Association (1985) and serves on the boards of the Boston Branch of the NAACP and the Lena Park Community Development Corporation.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 25, 1995.