And we found a way to turn pandemic restrictions to our advantage: we quickly realized that having fewer people at MIT would make it that much easier to revitalize our physical campus with minimal disruption. We transformed Kendall Square with open spaces and a brand-new Welcome Center. We set about revitalizing the west campus, with New Vassar and a new home for theater arts. And we have broken ground on a new music building that will further enliven the heart of campus with fresh energy and creativity.
We have also advanced a central priority that is less tangible, but just as vital: making MIT a more humane, welcoming community where each of us can thrive. A thoughtful, dedicated Values Statement Committee has drafted a statement that celebrates our long-standing values while inspiring us to set our sights higher. Meanwhile, Institute Professor Penny Chisholm and former chancellor Phil Clay, PhD ’75, are guiding a working group toward establishing a shared understanding of free expression at MIT.
All of this work is tremendously important. But I must admit that we are moving one particular plan forward with the utmost anticipation: bringing everyone together this spring to send off our new graduates and celebrate reunions. In addition to this year’s graduating and reunion classes, we will recognize the past two 25th and 50th reunion classes and the classes of 2020 and 2021.
I cannot wait to see all of you, in person, at MIT.