Some buildings will need to be closed for part of Commencement day (Friday, June 5) due to security arrangements for President Clinton's visit to MIT. As soon as details on the closings are worked out by the Secret Service and Campus Police, the Personnel Office will advise people who work in those buildings about schedules and pay policies.
In a letter distributed to members of the MIT community today, President Charles Vest said: "Security arrangements will influence the schedule, access to Killian Court and surrounding areas, parking and so forth, and thus will affect members of our community well beyond the participants and guests in the ceremony."
A special edition of MIT Tech Talk devoted solely to Commencement arrangements will be published next Wednesday. In addition, information about Commencement will be disseminated through the following channels:
- Direct communications from the Commencement Committee, Campus Police, Personnel, department heads, parking coordinators and others as necessary.
- Via the Commencement Committee web site.
- The MIT home page, which will spotlight Commencement information beginning on June 1.
"As you know, at this year's Commencement exercises we are privileged to host two speakers, Dr. David Ho and President Clinton," President Vest said in his letter. "The President's participation will necessitate extra preparation and substantial changes in the way we usually do things, but we are making every effort to minimize disruptions and maintain smooth operations as we welcome our guests. Commencement is, after all, a celebration of an exceptional group of 2,500 graduates who, together with their families and friends, are truly the day's honored guests.
"For the many people involved in preparing and supporting this year's Commencement, this is an especially intense period. The logistics are daunting, particularly in light of the strict security measures required for a presidential visit in an open venue."
President Vest concluded by saying, "MIT is accustomed to hosting world leaders, but this is the first time that a sitting President of the United States will address our graduating students. The challenges are great, but this is also an extraordinary opportunity for MIT to shine, both on campus and in telecasts around the world. Above all, it is an opportunity for us to insure that all of our guests and graduates remember the 1998 Commencement exercises as the best ever."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 20, 1998.