On Wednesday, April 7, the MIT Women's League will host a tribute to Laya W. Wiesner, civic leader and champion of an expanded role for women at MIT. Widow of MIT's 13th president, Jerome B. Wiesner, Laya Wiesner died on September 28, 1998.
The program will held in Bartos Theater (Rm E15-070) from 4:30-6pm with a reception to follow. The tribute will celebrate Mrs. Wiesner's life and highlight the many ways she contributed to the MIT community, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the nation.
Speaking at the event will be President Charles M. Vest, Mrs. Rebecca M. Vest, Professor Paul E. Gray and Mrs. Priscilla K. Gray. Additional remarks will be given by Dr. Carola Eisenberg, former MIT Dean of Students; Ruth M. Batson, co-founder of the Metropolitan Council on Education (METCO) program; Professor Mary P. Rowe, MIT ombudsperson; Edith Ruina, collaborator and friend; and former US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, chairman and president of Citizens Energy Corp.
Joshua, Lisa and Zachary Wiesner will respond for the family. Cheryl L. Morse, Jerome Wiesner's former administrative assistant, will provide music.
Laya Wiesner worked to make MIT a place where individual contributions helped shape the Institute's quality of life. In 1980, the MIT Women's League honored this work by creating the Laya W. Wiesner Award, given annually "to the undergraduate woman who has most enhanced community life." For the next 18 years until her death, she personally chose the recipients.
As a memorial of her legacy, the Women's League is now establishing the Laya Wiesner Community Award that will be presented to "a member of the MIT community for conspicuously effective service that reflects Laya's concerns for enhancing life at the Institute and the world at large." The award will be presented for the first time in 2000.
Donations to the Laya Wiesner Community Award fund may be sent to the Recording Secretary, MIT Office of the Treasurer, 238 Main St., Cambridge, MA 02142-1012.
A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 24).