Speeches

“Science, math and engineering can give you the exhilarating power to become not mere spectators or consumers, but the active explorers, makers and doers who will help invent the future.”                 - Susan Hockfield

Show Results:  25  |  50  |  100
February 16, 2013
AAAS Fellows were instituted in the 1870s, to create a more prestigious category of "fellows" for members "professionally engaged in science" or those who "by their labors aided in advancing science."  That’s you! Congratulations on your election:  You join a society of extraordinary scientists and scholars, the AAAS elite.  Many of you, quite appropriately will find this honor of particular...
June 08, 2012
Welcome all: graduates and alumni, friends and family. Gathered here in Killian Court, we feel the deep currents of history. The majestic architecture of the Main Group recalls our MIT predecessors who, in 1916, erected these buildings. In their grandeur, these buildings expressed a vision and an ambition for the technological century that was about to unfold. And in the names carved above us,...
May 16, 2012
Today is a hugely exciting day for MIT. I cannot imagine anyone better prepared for the job of MIT’s president than Rafael Reif. Nor can I imagine anyone better suited to serve this community in this moment. Our president-elect is well known to many in the MIT community, but not to all. So, for those who have not had the privilege of working with Rafael, I want to give you a sense of the...
May 02, 2012
MIT is extremely excited to continue a long history of collaboration by joining with Harvard in this new partnership, a shared expedition to explore the frontiers of digital education. What we will discover together will help us do what we do, better: to more effectively and more creatively increase the vitality of our institutions, and, at the same time, to increase educational opportunities for...
February 29, 2012
Almost two weeks ago, I announced that I would be stepping down later this year as president of MIT. That decision has led me to reflect a bit on the beginning of my service at MIT, more than seven years ago, and one memory stands out from all the rest: the clear, unambiguous message from the Institute’s entire community that it was time for MIT to step up and do something serious about energy....
February 09, 2012
Let me begin this morning with a very warm thank-you to the MIT Gospel Choir for their glorious music. Shamarah Hernandez and Derek Ham, thank youfor your inspiring words and your selfless contributions to the MIT community – and thank you, in advance, for the important ways you will no doubt serve the world. I also want to thank our hosts, the Committee on Race and Diversity, for bringing us...
February 07, 2012
As I begin, I feel compelled to confess the glaringly obvious: I am not any kind of historian. I am a neuroscientist by training, but MIT’s Sesquicentennial celebrations last year deputized me as one of our official storytellers, so I have become a kind of accidental, entirely amateur historian – a dangerous pursuit. With that caveat, I very much look forward to your questions later on, and I am...
November 09, 2011
Let me start the evening off by talking a bit about America's innovation economy – how it emerged, how it's working, and some steps we can take to strengthen it. As I step into this discussion of the innovation economy, I should acknowledge the obvious: I am neither an entrepreneur nor an economist. I have no high-tech innovations up my sleeve, and bringing ideas on innovation to Silicon Valley...
July 15, 2011
In seeking a solution to America's current economic quandary, it would be hard to think of any group closer to the action than the nation's governors: You carry an extraordinary burden of leadership, both in addressing the human suffering and budget impacts of the lingering global downturn, and in trying to chart a course to a brighter economic future for your states, so I join you today with a...
June 03, 2011
Those of you graduating today will receive many different degrees in a wide range of disciplines. But, even so, you are united, as our Sesquicentennial class. The MIT150 celebrations that began 148 days ago have described the earliest dreams of our founding and produced provocative, sometimes even luminous, visions of the future. We heard Nobel Laureate-studded panels discuss the frontiers of...
April 10, 2011
We gather today to celebrate MIT's founding 150 years ago. However, I will focus my comments on our responsibilities for the next 150 years, because we come together at a precarious time for our nation and for the world: A time when the world increasingly seeks – and suffers for the lack of – safe, sustainable, clean energy, and when the climate speaks to us through rising seas and retreating...
March 04, 2011
The dedication of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, our newest hotbed of research and education innovation, falls right in the midst of 150 days of events that celebrate MIT's first 150 years. In preparing for our Sesquicentennial, we have been delving into MIT's past to find fuel for the future. In 1861, when William Barton Rogers founded MIT, he aimed to make science...
February 09, 2011
Let me begin with a welcome to everyone, and a warm thank you to the MIT Gospel Choir and to the Ettienne Group for the glorious music, and to Khalea Robinson and Pierre Fuller for their truly inspiring words.  We often say how much the intelligence and ambition of our students inspires us, but every year, at this event I feel infinitely proud to play a role, no matter how minor, in helping...
September 13, 2010
Let me start by thanking the Brookings Institution for hosting this important conversation. I also want to thank Jim Simons and Math for America for bringing us together, and for Jim's phenomenal leadership in developing inspired and informed math teachers. And I know we will all miss Representative Bart Gordon, who has been a powerful force for the good through his work in Congress. Finally, I...
August 29, 2010
Welcome to the MIT Class of 2014! I also offer a very warm welcome to all of your families and friends who have come to help you settle into your new home here at MIT. After the long months of the admissions process – more competitive than ever this year – you, our new MIT freshmen, may feel that you are lucky to be here. But let me state very clearly that we are lucky to have you join us. You...
June 23, 2010
President Zhang, thank you for your gracious introduction and for welcoming us to the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I want to particularly acknowledge Madame Ma, Chairperson of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Council, whom we were deeply honored to host at our campus in Cambridge just nine days ago. We look forward to a future of productive collaborations. As student and faculty...
June 04, 2010
Today's graduates of MIT: This day is, truly, for you. Here, in the stately embrace of Killian Court, we gather to celebrate your success. You have distinguished yourselves in courses of study that stand among the most demanding in the world. For all that you have accomplished, we congratulate you. In the midst of celebrating your achievements, our joy would be incomplete if we did not recognize...
March 22, 2010
Living amid so many treasures of the past, one great gift from Greece to the world has been the ability to take the long view, to understand that there is more to the human story than the events of the present, however overwhelming they may seem. This is surely a moment of great economic difficulty and political turmoil for many nations of the world. We all share the pressing concerns of the...
February 10, 2010
Good morning! I cannot imagine a better way to greet the new day than soaring on the wings of the MIT Gospel Choir and on the notes of Jermaine Tulloch. Thank you very much for waking us all up to the day and its great potential. I also want to thank Dylon Rockwell and Zenzile Brooks; I am so proud of both of you. Dylon, you called out to all of us that our motto, Mens et Manus, urges us to...
August 30, 2009
Welcome MIT class of 2013! I extend the warmest possible welcome, also, to the families and friends of our new MIT students, who have traveled here to help launch their new intellectual adventure. This gathering to start the year is known as “convocation,” from the Latin for “calling together.” As you’ll soon discover, however, MIT’s culture is highly distributed, a vibrant community of...
June 05, 2009
I share something important with the undergraduate Class of 2009: we were freshmen together. You started your first full academic year at MIT when I started mine. Over these four years, we have all learned lessons, great and small, starting with the mysterious way we number our buildings and our courses, the numerical “secret handshake” of the MIT family. While you mastered the art of the problem...
April 30, 2009
I’m always delighted to speak at the AAAS, but particularly so to join you today, since we have something so important to celebrate. As you probably know, on Monday President Obama spoke at the National Academy of Sciences. In his speech he offered an endorsement of the value of science and engineering so broad, detailed and unwavering that it simply can’t be dismissed as rhetoric. Let me read...
March 23, 2009
As President of MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I bring a perspective from America’s research scientists and engineers. We’re focusing today on clean energy and the truly historic investment in clean energy research, development and technology that President Obama is advocating for the nation. Through the Stimulus bill, President Obama and Congress made a major commitment to new...
February 05, 2009
Good morning, and welcome to a beautiful new day. On MIT’s annual calendar, this celebration of Dr. King’s legacy continues to be an important landmark and a personal inspiration for each of us to help realize his ideals. I want to express my thanks and admiration to Matt Gethers [’09] and Joy Johnson [G] for their presentations and for the extraordinary standard they set as members of this...
December 03, 2008
We come together at a time of acute contradictions: a time of deep concern about the global economic scene, but also a moment full of the hopeful energy of a new administration. Those of us involved with the life sciences and their federal funding are experiencing a parallel contradiction: We have, and we should have, grave concerns about future funding after years of stagnant research budgets....

Pages