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Center for Transportation Studies marks 25th anniversary

As part of the celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) sponsored a day-long seminar at the Faculty Club on November 20, featuring panels of alumni/ae discussing the future of transportation and logistics in the information age.

The anniversary celebration also included a dinner party and alumni/ae reunion at the Museum of Science the day before, attended by over 200 friends and associates of the Center, including alumni/ae and students, corporate and public affiliates, and faculty members both present and past -- Shef Lang (SB 1949, SM), Marvin Manheim (SB 1959, PhD) and founding director Paul Roberts among them.

The featured speaker at the dinner was Professor Robert Brown, provost and former dean of engineering. In a brief account of MIT's history, he noted that the Institute changed profoundly after World War II, blending science and engineering in a new way that gave rise to the modern research university.

The key to that transformation, he said, was the emergence of interdepartmental research centers like the Center for Transportation Studies, which "transcended the petty disputes within the various disciplines."

He added that CTS went on to transcend the traditional notion of interdepartmental research centers by becoming a part of the education effort at MIT by introducing its master of science and PhD degrees in transportation programs, and its recent master of engineering in logistics program. The Center, he said, is one of only a few research centers at MIT to engage in such a joint mission.

At the November 20 seminar, the panels of executives, entrepreneurs and educators represented a broad sampling of CTS graduates. The executive panel featured the deputy COO of the MBTA (Anne Herzenberg, SM 1982), the CIO of American Airlines (Scott Nason, SM 1977), the president of Cambridge Systematics (Lance Neumann, SM 1976, PhD) and the president of the Ingram Barge Co. (Craig Philip, SM 1980, PhD).

Entrepreneurs were represented by Simon Lewis (SM 1986) of GISTrans, Ltd.; Carl Van Dyke (SB 1981, SM) of Multimodal Inc.; and James Worden (SB 1989) of Solectria Corp. The educators' panel featured department chairmen from Northwestern (Mark Daskin, SB 1974, PhD), Carnegie Mellon (Chris Hendrickson, PhD 1978) and the University of Toronto (Eric Miller, PhD 1978).

Also featured at the meeting were presentations by current transportation students at MIT on their research. Participants were PhD candidates Jon Bottom and Joan Walker and master's candidates Doug Vos and Clayton Lane. John Snow, president, chairman and CEO of the CSX Corp., was the keynote speaker.

For more information about the event, visit the CTS web site.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 9, 1998.

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