For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding inauguration week, the key event is surprisingly simple.
President Susan Hockfield will formally become the 16th president of MIT when she accepts the university charter from Dana Mead, chairman of the Corporation at the ceremony on Friday, May 6.
The Corporation is the supreme governing body of the Institute.
Mead will be assisted in the investiture by Presidents Emeriti Paul E. Gray, Howard W. Johnson and Charles M. Vest.
Mead, who is essentially the master of ceremonies for the inauguration, is also going to open the ceremony and introduce Professor Alison Richard, vice chancellor of Cambridge University, who has been chosen to offer greetings to Hockfield on behalf of the Academy. Richard served as the provost of Yale University for eight years just preceding Hockfield's tenure in that post.
After accepting the charter, Hockfield will deliver her inaugural address.
For those interested in learning more, the MIT Museum is presenting a small display, "A Celebration of MIT Presidents and Inaugurations Past," which features photographs and inaugural ephemera from the MIT General Collection. A separate case will highlight Hockfield's inauguration. The display will run through the summer.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 4, 2005 (download PDF).