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Former MIT head Vest to deliver Kerr Lectures

09 February 2005


Charles Vest (Donna Coveney/MIT photo)
The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) has announced that Charles M. Vest, former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present the Clark Kerr Lectures on the role of higher education in society.

The lecture series was established in 2001 in honor of Clark Kerr, former Berkeley chancellor, president of the UC system, chief architect of California’s master plan for higher education, and one of the 20th century’s most influential leaders in higher education. Kerr died in 2003 at the age of 92.

In two programs at Berkeley and one at UC Santa Barbara, Vest will talk about the dynamics of federal science and technology policymaking, and the role of three distinct constituents: the public, government, and industry. All programs are free and open to the public.

In his April 19 lecture at Berkeley, Vest’s topic will be “Federal, State, and Local Governments — University Patrons, Partners, or Protagonists.” An April 21 lecture at UC Santa Barbara will focus on “Openness and Globalization in Higher Education — The Age of the Internet, Terrorism, and Opportunity.” Returning to Berkeley in fall 2005, Vest will address “Industry, Philanthropy, and Universities — The Roles and Influences of the Private Sector in Higher Education.”

Like Clark Kerr, Vest has been a leader in the field of education. As president of MIT from 1990 to 2004, he worked to improve undergraduate education, strengthen the international dimensions of education and research programs, boost relations with industry, and enhance racial and cultural diversity. Vest also pushed for more public attention on issues concerning education and research, and for strengthening national policy on science, engineering, and education. Before MIT, he was provost of the University of Michigan.

CSHE Director Judson King said that Vest “possesses unique insight, due to this combined public and private university backgrounds, and is an articulate and highly effective spokesperson for higher education.”

UC’s Office of the President provided initial funding for the Kerr Lectures, which are delivered every two years. The first Kerr lecturer was Harold Shapiro, president emeritus of Princeton University and a former president of the University of Michigan.

Additional information about the lectures is online at cshe.berkeley.edu/kerrlectures.