MIT's first Dean for Student Life, Margaret R. Bates, will step down in June to join her husband on a one-year sabbatical.
Dean Bates, who came to MIT in 1995, made the announcement last Wednesday at a meeting at the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education. She has made a major contribution during her tenure at ODSUE, overseeing major changes in organization and policy regarding student life.
"Dean Bates has served MIT with great wisdom, strength and energy during a time that has presented many challenges and opportunities," said President Charles M. Vest.
"She has responded to unrelenting challenges with wisdom, hard work, collegiality, and good humor," said Dean for Students and Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams. "I personally have relied upon her for advice and judgment in a host of complicated situations."
She will also be sorely missed by students.
"Dean Bates has been more than an administrator," said Matthew McGann, president of the Undergraduate Association. "She has been a community leader. Rather than administrating important policy decisions, Margaret has led community discussions to reach consensus. Her total involvement in campus life has been an example for us all."
Professor Linn Hobbs of materials science and engineering, who chaired the 1995 committee which recommended the creation of the dean for student life position, will chair the search committee for Dean Bates's successor. The committee will include faculty, staff and students, who will be chosen in collaboration with the Undergraduate Association.
"The search will involve an organizational overview of the student life area as it has evolved through reengineering, other managerial changes, and policy changes," said Dean Williams. "The position of dean for student life may be redefined to accord with these recent changes, and to make it possible for MIT in the future to support even more effectively the residential and campus life of its students."
Before coming to MIT, Dean Bates was the academic and financial planning officer at Harvard from 1993-95 and vice provost for academic programs and facilities at Duke from 1985-93. Before that, she was a senior research fellow at Caltech, a dean at Pamona College and vice president of the Claremont Colleges. She graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with honors in political science in 1963 and went on to earn the MA (1966) and PhD (1971) from Harvard, also in political science. Her husband, Robert H. Bates, the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University, received the PhD from MIT in 1969.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 20, 1999.