Rafael Reif is in the House

Rafael Reif is in the House

President L. Rafael Reif moved into Gray House on Saturday with his wife, Christine, continuing an MIT tradition and joining the more than 5000 students living on campus. Cradled in the L of Senior House, the president’s residence was part of architect William Welles Bosworth’s original design for MIT’s Cambridge campus and is nearly a century old.

Reif’s first night in the mansion came a full seven months after he took his current office. The delay was requested by MIT Facilities so they could complete overdue maintenance.

“There were issues with the electrical wiring, the plumbing, HVAC; the masonry was leaking; the facade, the doors, the windows were leaking,” Reif told The Tech. “The details I don’t know, but I do know that a lot of MIT buildings need repairs.”

The president was able to continue to commute from Newton, Mass. during the repairs, which could not have taken place if the house was occupied. “The previous two presidents came from the outside, so there was not much time to actually do the work,” he said.

Reif looks forward to living within the Institute. “The idea of being able to walk and show up unannounced and meet with students is more attractive than having to drive all the way home.”

He didn’t wait long to take advantage of the new proximity — Reif left for the men’s and women’s basketball games in Rockwell Cage on Saturday after just a few hours in his new home. “I asked my wife, ‘Is it okay if I just go to the game?’” he said. “I like the idea that I can just come and walk and watch. This is my way of celebrating I’m in Gray House.”

The Engineers stayed in the lead for most of both games, the women finishing 57-44 against Mount Holyoke, and the men 68-59 against Springfield.

The Gray House was built in 1917, and was originally called the President’s House. In 2002, it was renamed after the Institute’s 14th president, Paul E. Gray ’54.

—Leon Lin