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Howard Johnson (Part 2)

MIT President, 1966 - 1971

Chairman of the MIT Corporation, 1971 - 1983

MIT President, 1966 - 1971

Chairman of the MIT Corporation, 1971 - 1983

Howard W. Johnson
MIT President, 1966 – 1971
Chairman of the MIT Corporation, 1971 – 1983

Howard Johnson was the twelfth president of MIT, as well as chairman of the MIT Corporation and president of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As the Institute’s president from 1966 to 1971, Mr. Johnson faced a tumultuous period of foreign war and national dissent. By listening and building consensus, Mr. Johnson gained widespread support and respect, and he wrote of these decisive times in his book, Holding the Center: Memoirs of a Life in Higher Education. His public service included membership on the National Commission on Productivity, the President’s Advisory Committee on Labor-Management Policy, and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Highlights from this interview include:

  • Evaluation of how the campus uprisings at MIT during the 1960s were handled.
  • Response to Walter Rosenblith’s idea of Johnson being a part of MIT’s “Camelot.”  
  • Thoughts on joining the senior administration as an MIT insider versus an outsider.
  • Review of his presidency’s accomplishments.
  • Views on the importance of research institutes, and how to support them financially.
  • Response to what it means to refer to MIT as “an international school.

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