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Faculty hears MIT to review securities; Dower wins Killian prize, at recent faculty meeting

John Dower, Ford International Professor of History, is MIT's James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award winner for 2007-2008.

Dower's selection was announced at the May 16 faculty meeting by Killian selection committee chair Ann W. Spirn, professor of urban studies and planning.

"This is truly a surprise," Dower said. "It's a pleasure and an honor to be part of MIT. I came in 1991 after being at a number of other institutions, and I see something here I haven't seen elsewhere--bringing cutting-edge things in new technology into the humanities."

Although Dower described himself as "one of last people at MIT who doesn't use e-mail," he has broken new ground through his scholarly use of Web-based visual materials and other expressions of popular culture in reexamining Japanese and U,S.-Asian history.

His numerous publications include "War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War," which was honored with several prizes; "Empire and Aftermath," a study of the life and times of the diplomat and later prime minister Yoshida Shigeru; and "Japan in War and Peace: Selected Essays." He also was the executive producer of a documentary film "Hellfire--A Journey from Hiroshima," which was nominated in 1988 for an Academy Award.

Dower's most recent book, "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II," won numerous honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, the National Book Award in nonfiction, Bancroft Prize in American History, John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History, Los Angeles Times Book Prize in history, Mark Lynton History Prize and L.L. Winship/PEN New England Prize.

MIT President Susan Hockfield said that the MIT Corporation's Executive Committee announced May 15 it has decided to review "the securities portfolios over which it may exercise direct investment discretion and will divest as appropriate for those portfolios to exclude securities that would violate MIT's investment principles," from corporations involved with the Sudanese government.

The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility passed its recommendations to the Executive Committee in early April. "MIT certainly shares the concerns of many around the world and around the country of the unspeakable horrors going on in the Sudan," she said.

In other business, Hockfield told the faculty that MIT received a record-breaking 12,433 applications for the Class of 2011. "This is a 10 percent increase over last year," Hockfield said. "We admitted only 12.3 percent of students who applied, compared to 13.3 last year." The yield--the number of students who choose to attend MIT after being admitted--broke another record at 69 percent, 2 percent higher than last year. The incoming class will be around 46 percent women and close to 20 percent underrepresented minorities, she said.

In a continuation of an update on MIT's international programs that began during the April faculty meeting, Philip S. Khoury, associate provost and Ford International Professor of History; Thomas L. Magnanti, dean of the School of Engineering; and Fred Moavenzadeh, director of the Technology and Development Program, spoke about MIT's expanding relationship with Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology would expand the existing relationship to include a non-degree-granting, broader research engagement that would include collaborations with universities, industrial organizations and research institutes in Singapore and the rest of Asia.

A new $35 million project will help Abu Dhabi develop a new university, create new opportunities for research and development and expand the country's capacity in alternative forms of energy. MIT will assist and advise the new Masdar Institute in five areas, including high-tech entrepreneurship, strategic coupling of research findings and emerging technological needs and designing a green campus. Between 10 and 15 MIT faculty members and 25 to 35 graduate students will be involved with the Abu Dhabi institute each year, Moavenzadeh said.

At the meeting, faculty moving to the rank of professor emeritus were recognized. They are:

School of Architecture and Planning
Professor John P. de Monchaux

School of Engineering
Professor Robert A. Brown
Professor Mildred Dresselhaus
Professor Woodie C. Flowers
Professor Paul E. Gray
Professor Jerome H. Milgram
Professor Ain Ants Sonin
Professor Kenneth N. Stevens

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Professor Joshua Cohen

Sloan School of Management
Professor Thomas J. Allen
Professor D. Eleanor Westney

School of Science
Professor Daniel Kemp
Professor Jeffrey I. Steinfeld

Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Professor Robert S. Lees

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 23, 2007 (download PDF).

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