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MIT announces plans for presidential search

Search committee members are named; John Jarve ’78, SM ’79 will lead the process.
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View of MIT's Great Dome, with light reflecting off the windows behind the columns along the front of the building
Image: Adam Glanzman

Diane Greene, the chair of the MIT Corporation, announced today in a letter to the MIT community that MIT’s presidential search committee had been formed and is ready to start a thorough and broad-based search to find the successor to President L. Rafael Reif, who in February announced his plans to step down at the end of this year.

 “Overseeing the selection of MIT’s next president is the Corporation’s most important responsibility. As we initiate the search process, we are already drawing on the knowledge and intellectual horsepower of the MIT community. Together, we will be able to ensure a search worthy of MIT’s singular excellence and breathtaking potential,” Greene says.

MIT Corporation Life Member John Jarve ’78, SM ’79 will chair the presidential search. “We are fortunate to have John leading the search. He has given generously of his time, wisdom, and resources since graduating, and his calm and respectful style is already building trust across our communities,” Greene says.

Jarve is a recipient of the Bronze Beaver Award, the highest honor bestowed by the MIT Alumni Association. His past service to MIT has included a term as president of the Alumni Association, as well as service on eight visiting committees. He is a partner emeritus at Menlo Ventures in Menlo Park, California, from which he retired in 2018. In his 33-year career as a venture capitalist, Jarve led investments in some 50 companies, selected and worked closely with many CEOs, and sat on numerous corporate boards.

“In many ways, MIT’s president is more than the leader of the Institute,” Jarve says. “He or she serves as a beacon of inspiration for people who seek to make a better world through innovation in the sciences, humanities, and technology. I am honored to serve as chair of the committee, and I look forward to drawing upon the wisdom of the faculty, staff, student body, and my fellow alumni as this process unfolds.”

In announcing the search committee, Greene noted the Executive Committee’s role in finalizing the members, and the participation of the faculty chair and the Corporation’s recent graduates in surfacing the candidates. For the first time, the search committee includes an undergraduate, a graduate student, and a member of MIT staff, alongside eight members of the faculty and nine Corporation members.

The committee is composed of the following members of the MIT community:

  • John W. Jarve ’78, SM ’79, search committee chair, MIT Corporation life member and partner emeritus of Menlo Ventures
  • Diane B. Greene SM ’78, MIT Corporation chair and former CEO of VMware and Google Cloud
  • Lily L. Tsai, MIT faculty chair and Ford Professor of Political Science

MIT Corporation

  • R. Erich Caulfield SM ’01, PhD ’06, MIT Corporation and Executive Committee member, and founder and president of the Caulfield Consulting Group
  • Orit Gadiesh, MIT Corporation and Executive Committee member, and chair of Bain and Company Inc.
  • Mark P. Gorenberg ’76, MIT Corporation life member and Executive Committee member, and managing director of Zetta Venture Partners
  • Susan Hockfield, MIT Corporation life member, MIT president emerita, and professor of neuroscience
  • Adedoyin Olateru-Olagbegi ’20, MIT Corporation member and associate product manager at Schmidt Futures
  • David M. Siegel SM ’86, PhD ’91, MIT Corporation and Executive Committee member, and co-chair of Two Sigma
  • Susan E. Whitehead, MIT Corporation life member and founding lifetime trustee of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Faculty, staff, and students

  • Munther A. Dahleh, director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and the William A. Coolidge Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Esther Duflo PhD ’99, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, and co-director and co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)
  • David I. Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, professor of physics, and associate dean of Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC) in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing
  • Nicholas de Monchaux, professor and head of the Department of Architecture, and professor of urban studies and planning
  • Kristala Jones Prather ’94, the Arthur D. Little Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • Matthew Vander Heiden, director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Lester Wolfe Professor of Molecular Biology
  • Ezra Zuckerman Sivan, the Alvin J. Siteman Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, and professor of technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategic management and work and organization studies
  • Deborah Liverman, executive director of MIT Career Advising and Professional Development
  • Nick Allen, PhD candidate in urban studies and planning
  • Yu Jing Chen, senior in urban science and planning with computer science

The MIT presidential search committee is staffed by Katie Alwart, special advisor to the chair of the Corporation.

“This is a diverse and capable group of individuals, representing the excellence of our community,” Jarve says. “I’m honored to be serving with each of them.”

He adds that the committee’s first order of business will be “broad outreach to the MIT community as well as to leaders within and beyond academia, so that we can better understand the opportunities for MIT and higher education in the years ahead, and the ideal attributes for a university leader in this era.”

There will be further updates to the community as the search proceeds, with “confidentiality for the candidates but transparency on the process,” Greene says. 

A survey and town hall are also planned. Members of the MIT community may submit ideas and suggestions at

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