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Wiesner service reunites old friends

The assembly was "a tribute to the greatness of Jerry Wiesner," as WGBH radio host Robert J. Lurtsema reported the next morning on his Morning Pro Musica show.

More than 1,000 friends, family and colleagues from across the United States gathered at Kresge Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 2 to honor and celebrate the life of Jerome B. Wiesner, president-emeritus of MIT who died October 21 at the age of 79.

Among the assembly were Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine; Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame; Derek Bok, former president of Harvard and his wife, Sissela Bok, the author; Ann Landers, the columnist; Thomas Winship, former editor of the Boston Globe; Mr. Lurtsema; Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, the author; and Sarah Caldwell of the Opera Company of Boston.

Paul E. Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation, who served as chancellor with Dr. Wiesner before succeeding him as president in 1980, led the ceremonies.

The speakers included Frank Press, former MIT faculty member and president emeritus of the National Academy of Sciences; Walter A. Rosenblith, former provost and Institute Professor emeritus; Adele S. Simmons, president of the MacArthur Foundation; folklorist Alan Lomax, who recorded folk songs with Dr. Wiesner in the 1930s; MIT President Charles M. Vest; Carl Kaysen, professor emeritus; architect I.M. Pei; Elma Lewis of the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, Boston; Victor F. Weisskopf, Institute professor emeritus; Gloriana Davenport, associate professor of media arts and sciences; Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist; and Joshua, Lisa and Zachary Wiesner, Dr. Wiesner's children.

A version of this article appeared in the December 7, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 14).

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