Skip to content ↓

Two in Balkans crash had MIT connections

A former MIT professor, I. Donald Terner, and an alumnus, Robert E.
Donovan, were among those killed in the Balkans plane crash last week.

Mr. Terner, 56, of San Francisco was founder and president of the Bridge
Housing Corp., a not-for-profit organization that has developed more
than 6,000 new homes, mostly for low- and middle-income buyers, in the
San Francisco area.

He taught in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1972 to
1976, leaving as an associate professor. He also had been associated
with what was then the MIT-Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies.

Mr. Donovan, 54, of Fairfield, CT, was president and chief executive
officer of Asea Brown Boveri Inc., the United States subsidiary of the
giant multinational conglomerate of the same named based in Zurich,

Mr. Donovan, who received the SM in nuclear engineering in 1968, spent
10 years in the US Army Corps of Engineers, retiring as a lieutenant
colonel, and the rest of his career working in business in the US and

Mr. Terner went from MIT to the University of California at Berkeley,
where he was an associate professor of architecture and associate dean
for environmental design research. He later was director of Housing and
Community Development for California, before entering the private sector
to develop affordable housing.

He had returned to MIT several times in recent years to lecture to
graduate students at the Center for Real Estate.

One of his closest MIT associates, Dr. Langley C. Keyes, Ford Professor
of City and Regional Planning, said Mr. Terner's Bridge Housing Corp.
"is without question the most successful of its kind." He termed Mr.
Terner's death "an unbelievable loss."

Dr. Donald A. Schon, professor emeritus of urban studies and education,
who taught a course with Mr. Turner called "Technology and the City,"
recalled that his colleague had a "fine, easy relationship with MIT

"He was able to get them excited about the potential of technology for
self-help housing, for example,' Profesor Schon said. "Of course, his
unique contribution came later, in his development of more workable
approaches to large-scale, low-income housing. But it's quite likely, I
think, that he would have wanted to return to do some teaching later

One of Mr. Terner's children, Michael G. Terner, received the SM degree
in urban studies and planning from MIT in 1993.

Related Topics

More MIT News