Grimson leaving Chancellorship to fill new role

Grimson to play major role in upcoming fundraising campaign; Schmidt is Acting Provost

Eric Grimson PhD ’80, Chancellor of MIT since 2011, will leave the Chancellorship and take on the ad hoc role of Chancellor for Academic Advancement, President L. Rafael Reif announced in an email to the MIT community Tuesday morning. In the new role, Grimson will help “meet the ambitious goals of MIT’s upcoming fundraising campaign,” Reif wrote. MIT will be searching for a new chancellor, and suggestions or insights should be sent to or Room 3-208.

“The coming Campaign will succeed only if it is rooted in the needs and aspirations of MIT faculty and students,” Reif wrote. In addition to Grimson’s fundraising experience as former department head of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course VI), Reif also cited his supervision and teaching of MIT students and rapport with Corporation members and alumni, writing that Grimson will be a “central advisor on the Campaign’s shape and strategy.” The role of Chancellor for Academic Advancement will exist for the duration of the upcoming fundraising campaign.

“This fundraising campaign will be one of the most important things that MIT will undertake over the next five years,” Grimson said in a statement to the MIT News Office. “I see my role as twofold: gaining the sustained input of faculty and students as we imagine the future of MIT, and ensuring that the resources are here for us to grow the next generation of leaders. I hope, in this new role, to root this campaign in the aspirations of MIT’s faculty and students, and in so doing, to keep the campaign connected to the heart of the Institute.”

Traditionally, the Institute’s president leads the fundraising efforts of the university. Reif’s predecessor, Susan J. Hockfield, led the most successful period of fundraising in MIT’s history, raising nearly $3 billion, according to the MIT News Office. At the time of her resignation from the presidency, Hockfield cited the beginning of “a significant new fundraising campaign” as a core reason for the timing. “A campaign on this scale will require the full focus and sustained attention of the Institute’s president over many years,” Hockfield wrote then.

Because Grimson’s new role will require extensive travel as he “[makes] the case for MIT’s fundraising priorities with alumni and donors around the world,” MIT will immediately search for his successor as Chancellor, which requires on-campus presence, Reif wrote in the email.

This change in the Institute’s senior leadership — not atypical with each new president — follows several others since Reif assumed the presidency in July 2012. In January 2013, Maria T. Zuber became Vice President for Research, succeeding Claude R. Canizares. In July 2013, then-Dean of Undergraduate Education Daniel E. Hastings PhD ’80 stepped down from the position, and was succeeded by DUE Dennis Freeman PhD ’86.

And in September, MIT’s Vice President for Human Resources Alison Alden announced her plans to retire in Spring 2014, Vice President for Resource Development Jeffrey L. Newton decided to retire after seven years in the position, and Reif announced that Provost Chris A. Kaiser PhD ’87 will step down at the end of October after assuming the role in July 2012 when former provost Reif became president.

In the same email announcing Grimson’s new role, Reif also wrote that Associate Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 will become Acting Provost, effective Nov. 1. Schmidt has served as Associate Provost since 2008, and will now serve as Acting Provost until a permanent provost is chosen.