Chuck Vest: what a remarkable person and what a remarkable life. In the recent remembrances of Chuck, many spoke of him consistently "doing the right thing": on need-blind admissions, on advocating on behalf of research universities at the national level, and, what we're gathered to recognize this evening, on gender equity. Chuck did what no one in such a position had done before: admit that there was discrimination against women faculty at MIT and act to promote gender equity. As we all know, his words carried tremendous weight and had an impact on gender equity here at MIT and at other universities nationally and internationally. His actions included setting up the Diversity Council to advise the senior administration on policies for promoting gender equity, implementing those policies here at MIT, bringing together the Group of Nine Universities to learn from what other universities were doing and promote gender equity more broadly, and advocating for others to implement policies to promote gender equity elsewhere.
Interacting with Chuck, in collaboration with many others from the School of Engineering and across MIT, gave me a deeper appreciation of the positive impact senior administrators can have on the people and the institution they serve. It was this that led to my own interest in serving as Chair of the Faculty and as Associate Provost.
Those who spoke at the memorial for Chuck remembered his ability to listen, his sense of humour, his humility, his wisdom, his impact on academia and on science and technology and, to me, the very essence of Chuck, him doing the right thing.
Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering