MIT President Susan Hockfield has announced that John C. Crowley, vice president for federal relations, will be retiring in late December or January, after 14 years as the founding director of MIT's Washington Office.
In making the announcement, Hockfield said, "Jack has provided extraordinary service, not only to MIT but to all of the higher education community. His skillful and tireless work advancing national policies that promote education and research, to build strength in science, engineering and technology have benefited all of us. I am very grateful to him for having deferred his retirement plans and continuing on in this important role during my first year in office. His introductions to the Washington community and his insights on the multitude of issues bearing on university-government relations have been simply invaluable."
Crowley joined MIT in 1991 when then-President Charles M. Vest established the MIT Washington Office to enhance MIT's contribution to national policy on science, engineering and education, and to make it easier for government officials to consult with MIT faculty on issues where scientific and technical advice may be needed. Crowley was named vice president for federal relations in 2000. Prior to his work at MIT, he served for 19 years as the first vice president of the Association of American Universities.
Vest commented, "I count among my greatest privileges having worked closely with Jack Crowley, and having learned from him how to pursue worthy goals in Washington. He is without peer among university federal relations officers, and is revered by his colleagues across the country. He brought to his work with MIT on behalf of the federal-university partnership a strong set of fundamental values and understanding of faculty goals as well as a unique working knowledge of government processes. His ethical and strategic approach has served us all extremely well. He will leave an enviable legacy of effective service."
The Washington Office works with Congress and the executive branch to raise understanding of the contributions of higher education and research to the national welfare. Over the past 14 years, Crowley has accompanied MIT's president on more than 400 visits to members of Congress and congressional staffers, executive branch policy-makers and other leaders in Washington to address issues that bear on the overall health of the university and college community - discussing topics ranging from national investment in research and education, to policies that enhance technological innovation, to the climate for international students and scholars in the post-9/11 environment.
In addition, since 1992, with the support of the Sloan Foundation, the annual MIT Congressional Staff Seminar on Science and Technology has brought senior congressional staff and, more recently, senior staff of the Executive Office of the President, to the MIT campus for in-depth discussions with MIT faculty and other experts on topics such as information technology, energy, transportation, health science and technology, climate change, manufacturing and telecommunications.
While based in Washington, Crowley has spent significant time on the MIT campus consulting, advising and working closely with the MIT administration and faculty on proposed legislation and on budgetary and policy matters that affect the Institute and the university community more broadly. In 1994, he joined with colleagues from 14 other universities to establish The Science Coalition, which now includes almost 60 leading public and private research-intensive universities, and gives a voice to the vital role played by federally funded university research across all agencies and disciplines. Crowley has served as MIT's primary representative to the Council on Federal Relations of the Association of American Universities.
Earlier this year MIT conferred its "Excellence Award" on Crowley in recognition of his success in making connections between MIT and its multiple constituents in academia and government. Previously, he was recognized by the Association of American Universities for his distinguished service to America's research universities and by the American Society for Public Administration for exceptional achievement in fostering cooperation between science and government, and for his contributions to national security. In 1988 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his "contributions to policy for research and higher education as a scholar and, especially, a practitioner."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 5, 2005 (download PDF).