More than 600 attend event emphasizing commitment to “stand together against injustice, intolerance, and hatred.”

Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office
July 14, 2016

More than 600 members of the MIT community met on Wednesday in the Institute’s latest public discussion of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion — matters made all the more salient by the series of high-profile gun killings in the U.S. this month.

The event featured public remarks by a few MIT speakers, while devoting most of its time to private discussions among audience members. Randomly assigned to tables of 10, the participants engaged in extended conversations about values, sources of intolerance, and ways to help MIT sustain an inclusive community during a time of social tension.

The U.S. has been roiled most recently by two incidents in which black men were killed by police officers this month, followed by the killing of five police officers who were serving at a demonstration in Dallas.

“I urge us not to give in to the darkness, the darkness of doubt and fear,” said DiOnetta Jones Crayton, associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education.




Letter from President Reif regarding recent violent tragedies in the United States

MIT News Office
July 10, 2016

The following email was sent to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.

To the members of the MIT community,

Summer scatters us. As our country again suffers incomprehensible tragedy and violence — in Minnesota, Louisiana, Texas and more — I would like to draw us together, across oceans, borders and time zones, so we can mourn together and reflect on how we can respond.

What are we to do?

But I know I am not alone in believing that caring for each other is a fraction of what the moment requires. The terrible images on the news overwhelm us all with pain, fear, outrage and perhaps worst of all, a sense of helplessness. That these events are unfolding in such an overheated political season only magnifies the concern.



Come for dinner and to enjoy the visual art and performances of MIT and Wellesley students.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
6:30-8:30 pm
Walker Memorial Morss Hall


Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!

Are you inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr or other civil rights leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer and Harvey Milk?

Express yourself by entering

  • visual art (painting, photography, sculpture, video)
  • performance art (music, song, spoken word, dance, theater)
  • literary work (poetry, short story, speech, play)

Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!

The contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester.

Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.

Here is your chance to show off your creativity and artistic skills to the MIT community, have fun and win money!

If you’d like to participate, fill out the entry form by Friday, May 6 @ 11:59 PM.

Please send long literary entries (short stories, plays, speeches) to Tobie Weiner ( prior to the contest.

Ta-Nehisi Coates delivered the keynote address at the University’s 149th Charter Day Convocation in Cramton Auditorium on Friday, March 4, 2016.

“There is no geographic quadrant, no place on the globe, nowhere in this world, that I’ve felt is more beautiful than Howard University,” Coates said.

In his remarks, Coates expressed deep appreciation to his predecessors, and encouraged today’s students to revel in the beauty and the empowering aspects of campus life.

“I knew that when I was here that I was not just experiencing a present beauty of an institution. I was experiencing the beauty of a heritage, going way, way back,” Coates said. “That put a pressure on me, a kind of responsibility. Beauty is not free.”

Coates majored in history and studied at Howard from 1993 to 1999. A national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, in 2008, and his New York Timesbest seller, Between the World and Me, in 2015. Coates is the recipient of the National Magazine Award and the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. He received the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations.” In addition, Coates was presented the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Fellowship in 2015. Coates also received the highly acclaimed 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me.

This year’s Charter Day celebration marks the 149th anniversary of the charter enacted by the United States Congress and approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867, that established Howard University.


WED FEB 10 2016: 42nd Annual MLK Celebration

MIT’s 42nd Annual Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Truth & Power: Students Leading for Change”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Silent March preceding Celebration Event
10am at MIT’s Lobby 7
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Celebration Program followed by Luncheon
Keynote Speaker: Freeman A. Hrabowski III
University of Maryland, Baltimore County President
Morss Hall, Walker Memorial
142 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139

Seating is limited; RSVP at here or visit
Professor Jim Gates will be speaking on matters related to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on
Science & Technology and some of its policy statements surrounding Climate Change at The Big History Anthropocene Conference in Sydney, Australia on December 10, 2015.Held at Macquarie University, the conference brings together “leading Australian and international academics and researchers from the natural and social sciences to explore the most pressing issues of our time”. This “transdisciplinary exploration” will cover:

  • Defining the Anthropocene
  • Ecosystems, Boundaries, and Species
  • Economics for the Anthropocene
  • Law and Governance for the Anthropocene
  • Reflections on Paris COP21
  • Climate Change, Health, and Population
  • Humanity’s Long Term Prospects

Prof. Gates serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and on the Maryland State Board of Education. Known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory, Prof. Gates is a member of the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., at a White House ceremony in 2013.

Prof. Gates’ lifetime career is in direct opposition to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent comments during oral arguments in a critical case about affirmative action: “Most of the black scientists in this country…come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”



Carlos Castillo-Chavez: Keynote at B.E.E.R.

Carlos Castillo-Chávez will headline International Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology Education Research. Known as B.E.E.R., the symposium draws in some of the top names in the emerging field of biomathematics. This year, it will take place at Illinois State University from October 9 to 11, 2015.

Castillo-Chavez’s work uses both mathematical models and an understanding of ecology to explore the spread of diseases. “Biomathematics is the interface where mathematical and natural sciences meet social sciences,” said Illinois State Professor of Mathematics Olcay Akman, who is co-organizing the symposium. “If biomathematics has an Einstein of our field, then it is Castillo-Chavez.”


Sylvester Gates, Jr. will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from Memorial University in Canada. The honorary doctorate recognizes extraordinary contributions to society and exceptional intellectual achievement.

The two other honorees are retired Supreme Court Justice and former member of the House of Assembly Robert Wells (honorary doctor of laws degree) and actor Robert Joy (honorary doctor of letters). The doctorates will be awarded at the fall convocation ceremonies in October 2015.

Dr. Gates will receive the degree of doctor of science honoris causa during the 3 p.m. session of fall convocation on Oct. 23, 2015 at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s.



Terrence Blackman presents the NAM David Harold Blackwell Lecture at the Mathematical Association of America Centennial Lecture Series

Friday, August 7, 2015
1:00 – 1:50 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Salon 2/3
Washington, D.C.



Mathematics, Mathematicians, Mathematics Education and Equity: Challenges and Opportunities

African Americans have a long and honorable tradition of doing Mathematics and Mathematics Education in the African American community. In this talk, from a perspective of excellence and equity, I will address the critical necessity of engagement in Mathematics Education, by all mathematicians and in particular, African American mathematicians. In so doing, I will describe some of the challenges and opportunities for undergraduates considering careers in the mathematical sciences.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez presents Lecture #4 at the Mathematical Association of America Centennial Lecture Series

Thursday, August 6, 2015
10:30 – 11:20 AM
Marriott Wardman Park, Salon 2/3
Washington, D.C.



The Role and Function of Mathematical Models in Interdisciplinary Mentorship through Research: Lessons from the World of Epidemics

We live in an interconnected world in which seeking solutions to societal problems no longer makes sense within the confines of single-discipline organized institutions. The nation’s ability to train 21st century scientists depends on systems of learning and thinking that are naturally embedded within interdisciplinary educational research/mentorship models. The use of multiple modes of doing science including the systematic use of computer experiments and data science (Big Data) must be at the heart of a modern 21st Century STEM education.

As Steve Strogatz observes “… cancer will not be cured by biologists working alone. Its solution will require a melding of both great discoveries of 1953 [Fermi-Pasta-Ulam introduction of the computer experiment and Watson & Creek discovery of the chemical structure of DNA]. Many cancers, perhaps most of them, involve the derangement of biochemical networks that choreograph the activity of thousands of genes and proteins. As Fermi and his colleagues taught us, a complex system like this can’t be understood merely by cataloging its parts and the rules governing their interactions. The nonlinear logic of cancer will be fathomed only through the collaborative efforts of molecular biologists — the heirs to Dr. Watson and Dr. Crick —and mathematicians who specialize in complex systems — the heirs to Fermi, Pasta and Ulam.”

In this lecture, I will highlight (1) the role that interdisciplinary research challenges has played in shaping the training and mentorship of students from high school to the postdoctoral level and (2) the impact that has had on my own research program. The discussion will be centered on questions that arise in the study of disease dynamics (Ebola and Influenza) across levels of organization and over multiple spatiotemporal scales.

The examples used are the result of the research carried out with a myriad of collaborators (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral students and colleagues) over the past three decades.

MLK 2014-2015 Visiting Professors & Scholars Farewell Luncheon
Friday, June 12, 2015
MIT Chipman Room (6-104)

Please contact Shauna Bush-Fenty at to RSVP

The Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO) is proud to host a farewell luncheon to celebrate the accomplishments of MIT’s seven 2014-15 Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. Visiting Professors and Scholars. The MLK Faculty Committee, partners/friends of the program, department heads and sponsors will be in attendance.

From awards and lectures to research and publications, this year’s seven visiting scholars have had quite an active year at the Institute.  See past posts on our News+Events page for a review of how they have enriched the intellectual life of MIT.

Certificates of distinction will be presented to:

Coco Fusco, Visiting Scholar, Comparative Media Studies/Writing

Malika Jeffries-EL, Visiting Associate Professor, Chemistry

Calestous Juma, Visiting Professor, Urban Studies and Planning

James Mickens, Visiting Scholar, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Hakeem Oluseyi, Visiting Professor, Physics

André D. Taylor, Visiting Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Kimani C. Toussaint, Visiting Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering