MIT Greets President Obama

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President Barack Obama will encourage Americans to lead the global economy in clean energy during his speech today in Kresge Auditorium at 12:30 p.m. Obama is pictured here with Governor Patrick during his campaign stop in Boston in February 2008.
Perry Hung—Tech File Photo

President Barack Obama will speak at MIT today “challenging Americans to lead the global economy in clean energy, and to highlight Recovery Act investments that are creating jobs and making advancements in wind energy,” the White House said.

At noon, the President will tour a research laboratory at MIT, and at 12:30 p.m will address Kresge Auditorum, speaking to government and business leaders, as well as students and staff.

The number of MIT attendees will be small. Staff distributing tickets said there were a total of 200 tickets for students, faculty, and staff. Kresge typically holds more than 1,000 people.

Obama will also advocate for the new Kerry/Boxer Senate climate bill, S.1733, according a New York Times/climatewire report. The House of Representatives’s climate bill, HR.2454, passed by a 219-212-3 vote in June 2009.

Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said, “I can attest from my meetings that the White House, the entire Administration, and President Obama himself are determined to get climate change legislation done. With growing support in the Senate and a fierce ally in the White House, I look forward to moving this process forward and ensuring that the world sees the United States as the leader on climate action in Copenhagen come December.”

Kerry will not be attending the event due to a prior commitment.

Deans Allocate Tickets

About 100 of the tickets were selected through the deans of MIT’s five schools.

Marc A. Kastner, Dean of the School of Science, said that he was going to “try to get a diverse group of students, obviously those whose work involves energy.” Kastner, whose school represents 20 percent of MIT’s student population, had only 10 tickets to allocate to students and another 10 to faculty and staff.

Kastner said he would not take a ticket for himself, but would watch it on TV so someone else could attend. “I think we should all enjoy this event,” he said.

Most of the deans have solicited recommendations of who to send from their department heads.

Obama’s visit to MIT has been hastily scheduled. MIT learned of Obama’s plans over the weekend, and has been scrambling since. The plans became widely known on Tuesday.

Second MIT/Energy speech

In March, Obama and MIT President Susan J. Hockfield appeared together at a White House event, “Investing in Our Clean Energy Future.”

Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at 11:30 a.m. at Logan Airport, and Obama will speak at MIT at noon. Afterwards, Obama will attend a fundraiser event for Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, and then Air Force One departs for New York at 3:40 p.m. The President will then attend a fundraising dinner for Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) in Stamford, Conn. before returning to Washington D.C. tonight.

Public viewing of the event will take place in rooms 4-237, 1-190, 26-100, 32-141, 32-155, E51-315, and the MIT Museum.