"I suspect if you polled university presidents in the U.S. and asked which fellow president do you admire most, Chuck would win in a walk. We all respect him for his intellect, his integrity, his courage and his moral leadership. MIT has been incredibly fortunate to have him at the helm for these past 13 years."
-- Lawrence Bacow, President of Tufts University and former MIT chancellor
"President Vest has been a great president for MIT. Under him, the Insitute has flourished. At the same time he has played a critical role in defining national science policies for the United States. His voice would be sorely missed on the national scene and I trust that he will continue to play an important role in Washington."
-- David Baltimore, president of the California Institute of Technology and former MIT professor
"Chuck Vest has unambiguously led MIT to clear preeminence among post-secondary institutions in science and technology. Under his direction, the Institute has established itself as a leader in social and equity issues through recruitment and inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities. His will be a difficult act to follow."
-- Robert J. Birgeneau, president of the University of Toronto and former MIT dean of science
" There is no issue in science where people don't look to him for very wise counsel."
-- Shirley M. Tilghman, president of Princeton University
" Chuck has been at the forefront of helping shape the American research university for the 21st century. In addition to providing excellent leadership as president of MIT, he has helped to develop and implement effective national research and education policies."
-- Nils Hasselmo, president of the Association of American Universities
"Chuck's success is that he is very much of the world of the newest of ideas and high technology, and yet his nature is very low-key and like somebody you'd meet on a street corner and get engaged in an interesting conversation with. He made senators and others feel very comfortable because he didn't seem surprised when they knew technical terms. That's very important."
-- Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.)
"He is immensely thoughtful about the dangers our country will face if we don't give enough support for research in science, engineering and math to maintain our leadership in the world economy and on national security."
-- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
"His leadership, his deep insights, his complete dedication to his missions, his humbleness, his sense of fairness, his approachability and his compassionate personality have been a source of great inspiration to me personally as well as to all who came into contact with him.
"Chuck's leadership has been exceptionally successful in two ways: his tenure has taken MIT to amazing heights and he has created an environment that will make it possible for his successor to continue his legacy well."
-- Kenan Sahin, founder of Kenan Systems and a life member of the MIT Corporation
" He was visionary on the fundamental changes that were happening in academia, he was tactical in terms of what MIT needed, and yet he was extremely sensitive in dealing with many of the issues of student life. It's not hard to find someone who's good in one of those areas. To find someone who excelled in all three is quite rare and precious."
-- Denis A. Bovin, vice chairman of Bear, Stearns and life member of the MIT Corporation
Quotes from The Boston Globe and The New York Times are included in this compilation.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 10, 2003.