MIT Commencement Program 1985 - Includes Address by Lee Iacocca, Chrysler Corp.

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Night will come again. Weary, perhaps, and sore. Ah, bugle, bugle, bugle. Ah, bugle, ah, bugle by my window. I pray you'll stroll once more. Stroll, stroll, stroll once more.

Musicians wrestle everywhere. Musicians wrestle everywhere. Musician wrestle everywhere. Musicians wrestle everywhere. All day, among the crowded air. I hear the silver strife. And waking long before the dawn, musicians wrestle everywhere. Musicians wrestle everywhere. I think it that new life. It is not bird, it has no nest. Nor band, nor band, in brass and scarlet dressed. Nor tambourine, nor man. It is not hymn from pulpit read. The morning stars, the treble led on time's first afternoon.

Some say it is the spheres at play. Some say that bright majority of vanished dames and men. Some say--

Vanished dames and men. Some think it service in the place where we, with late celestial face-- some think it service in the place where we, with late celestial face, please God, please God, shall ascertain.






O lark, O lark. From great dark arise. O lark of light. O lark of light. O lark of light, O lark of light, from great dark arise. From great dark arise. O lark of light, O lark of light, O lightness like a spark, shock and ears and stun our eyes, singing the day-rise, the day-rise, the great day-rise. O lark, O lark, O lark, O lark, O lark, O lark, from great dark arise. From great dark arise. O lark of light, lark, rise. O lark of light, lark rise. O lark of light, lark.

Oh believer, rejoice and say.

O lark, alert lark, rise. O lark, alert lark rise.

Say before evidence of day the son is risen.

O lark, alert, lark, rise. O lark, alert, lark, rise.

When no sun is come lovely in the air.

O lark of light, lark. O lark of light, lark, rise. O lark of light, lark, rise. O lark of light, lark.

Let ear and eye prepare to see anew, truly to see anew.

To see anew, truly to see anew. Truly to see anew. Truly to see anew.


Truly to see anew. Truly to see anew. Truly to see anew. To hear the great, warm welcome in the air. To see all dazzle after long despair. To see all dazzle after long despair.

O lark of light, rise.

To see what none may see now. Singer, singer, fair. Singer fair. Singer, singer, fair. So fair.

Oh, lark. Oh, lark.

So fair.

Oh, lark. Oh, lark. Oh, lark. Oh, lark. Oh, lark, alert. O lark, alert. Oh, lark alert. O lovely, lovely chanting arrow lark, sprung like an arrow, from the bow of dark.

Oh, lark arise. Oh, lark arise. Oh, lark arise. Oh, lark arise. Sing the day-rise, the day-rise, the great day-rise, the great day-rise.

The great day-rise.


PRESENTER: Ladies and gentlemen, may I please have your attention the academic procession led by the chief marshal will now enter Killian Court. The audience will please be seated.


Please be seated. Will you sit down?

Ladies and gentlemen, the guest of honor, the class of 1985.




PRESENTER: The corporation and the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now declared convened together with this assembly on the occasion of the graduation exercises of this institution for the conferring of its degrees. The stage assembly and audience will please rise for the singing of one verse of the national anthem, and then be seated while Rabbi Shavitz offers the invocation.


RABBI SHAVITZ: The conventional role of one who delivers the invocation at such occasions is to ask the Almighty for his blessing on your labors. But I must issue this assignment. God's blessing, though indispensable, is not sufficient. Our tradition teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, has delivered the power of blessing to his children who share the responsibility for maintaining His creation. And now it is you, you who have labored so hard these many years, who have mastered your various disciplines and learned the ways of excellence. It is you who are the source of blessing and curse in the world.

Scripture teaches us, "This day, I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live." This choice is offered us not once, it will present itself every day of your professional careers. The knowledge you have acquired here will help you make this choice. Hopefully you will choose life and spread blessings throughout your communities and among your neighbors.

So it is to you that I address this invocation. Let your labors be for blessings and not for curses. As you pass this milestone, you go out into new worlds to spread blessings. Some to industry, some to academe, some to governmental service, and some to that darkest recess where blessings are so hard to find at all-- graduate school. But all of you, I am certain, will be in a position to make decisions that will have unfathomable repercussions throughout our society, and perhaps the world. And I would like to offer my hopes for how you will avoid sowing curses and destruction, but rather to affirm life and blessing.

First of all, train your tongues to say I don't know. Much of the evil that besets us is due to people who are too ashamed of their ignorance to be silent. Humility is the true parent of wisdom. Don't assume that you are indispensable to your project. Such haughtiness, even if warranted, is ultimately misguided. Leave room for others. Even if you are right, others may have a different piece of the truth. Make time for your families. The ethics that puts achievement ahead of loving relationships is a wicked one. Your children will need loving fathers and mothers; your spouses, loving husbands and wives; and your comrades, a good friend, more than society needs your 12 hour days. Be home in time for dinner.

Many of you will be employers or supervisors. That is an awesome responsibility. Remember that those who work for you are created in God's image just as you are. Your MIT credentials do not give you license to mistreat them. Give them the space and time they need to be human. Efficiency is an important goal. But to elevate it to the summum bonum is idolatry. Efficiency must give way to justice, rectitude, and compassion if our society is to prosper.

Relationships are fragile. They bruise easily. Treat them with respect. A harsh word, a retreat from honor, or a tawdry compromise can propagate throughout society. And unlike automobiles, they cannot be recalled. One more lesson from our tradition. The Bible tells us of Moses' encounter with Pharaoh, and that he brought the plague of frogs on the land to humble the wicked oppressors. Pharaoh, we are told, summoned his magicians and asked for advice. These magicians-- and they might well have been the engineers of those days-- responded, well, that's not a difficult problem. We too can make frogs. And so they did.

Seeing their assignment as a professional problem to be solved, using the tools of their discipline, they achieved a technical breakthrough without ever realizing that the very last thing they needed was more frogs. Now it may not fall to your lot to redeem a whole world steeped in slavery and oppression. But at the very least, you can promise yourself that you will make no more frogs. [HEBREW] May you go from valor to ever greater valor, and may the vision of God always be before you.


PRESENTER: Thank you, Rabbi Shavitz. I am pleased to welcome to this platform Mr. Lee A. Iacocca, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the Chrysler Corporation. Mr. Iacocca will now give the commencement address.


LEE A. IACOCCA: Thank you, Dr. Saxon. And a good morning. I've only been here about an hour, and I've already had a little bit of pressure put on me. No less than six trustees have reminded me that Winston Churchill spoke to the commencement class 36 years ago. They said it was the biggest crowd that they ever had at a commencement, that he gave his usual rousing speech. But most important, the audience was upbeat and enthusiastic. You have to remember now that he had one huge advantage over me. The Celtics were not down 2 to 1 in the championship series that year.

But if you'll just hang in there, trust me, they're going to win it in seven, the hard way.


President Gray, members of the MIT Corporation, members of the faculty, distinguished guests and parents and members of the class of 1985, thank you for asking me to share this very special day with all of you. And it is a special day. It's a day for all of you graduates to thank your teachers for their hard work, and your parents for all their sacrifices. And by the way, don't forget to pat yourselves on the back too. You deserve it. And my hat is off to every one of you.

I asked one of your alumni at Chrysler to tell me a little bit about MIT students. He said quickly, they're all brilliant, but they're too intense, and they're too competitive. He said, the only thing they can't seem to learn is how to relax. Well, let me tell you-- relax today. It's your day. Enjoy it. Relax, but don't go to sleep. Because tomorrow, the real final exams start, and they'll go on for the rest of your lives. I'm going to try to give you a little peek at the test, but I won't be able to help you with the answers. They'll have to come from you.

But in case you want to take a nap for the next 20 minutes or so, I'll give you the ending to this speech right now. I'm going to tell you to go out and change the world. That's my duty, right? That's what every commencement speaker says.

And every graduating class just sits there hoping he'll be brief so they can go uncork the champagne, but musing to themselves, if the world had to be changed, why in the hell didn't he do it? Well, my generation tried pretty hard at times, and with some success I might add. I sat in your place in those happy days at the end of World War II. That was the good war, you know, the one in all those old Ronald Reagan movies.

Our future couldn't have been brighter then. America was flush with victory. We were king of the hill, the undisputed leaders of the whole world. Russia soon got some funny ideas about that, however. But believe it or not, back in those innocent days, a lot of people really thought we had a chance to build a perfect world. I wasn't too sure. I graduated from Lehigh. But I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to spoil it for the rest of them.

Well, a few things went wrong. There were a couple more wars. There were eight recessions. There was Watergate and a dozen other man-made disasters along the way. But in spite of all that, we did manage to wipe out a few diseases. We put a man on the moon. And we produced more technological change than all of those who came before us, and I mean combined. And we made America, I think, a little more just, a little more fair, and maybe a little bit more humane.

All in all, we really haven't done a bad job. And if you believe everything you read in the papers, the country must be in terrific shape. The stock market just went over 1,300. Companies are spending billions of dollars just buying each other up. And the public is on a buying binge too. They're buying lots of expensive cars and houses. Things are so good, even Chrysler made $2.4 billion last year. And we were broke five years ago. And you--


And you, how about you? Well, you've got the world by the tail. You're all going to make a bundle of money next year, at least. Some of you will be yuppies sooner than you think. We call anybody a yuppie who is around 40 and makes 40 grand a year. Hell, we're hiring some 20-year-olds at almost $40,000. $33,000 to start, by the way, for engineers, to be exact. I guess you'd call them baby yuppies or guppies, or I say yuppies 20 years ahead of their time.

But to be honest with you, we're handing you more than anybody has ever passed on to their kids. Generations ahead of you were lucky if they inherited a little shack on the back 40. You're getting a big beautiful mansion on a hill. That's what we're leaving you. Now, before you get all choked up with gratitude, I should tell you one more thing. We haven't paid for all this yet. We're leaving you the mansion, all right. But it's got a little mortgage on it, about $1.7 trillion, in fact, go on to $2 trillion, whatever that is, in just a couple of years.

That's the public debt we're going to hand this class. And if you don't like the deal, if you don't want the mansion, I'm sorry because it's yours along with the note. You can't give it back, but you can get mad about it. In fact, I hope you do. I'm mad too. I think the mortgage you're picking up is a national scandal. Right now, we're paying $150 billion a year in interest alone on our national debt, and adding almost $200 billion a year on the principle. For a long time, we fought a battle with inflation in this country. We beat it, but we paid a heavy price. We paid a price in unemployment, in high interest rates, and in bigger federal deficits. And we did weaken many of our basic industries, especially housing and autos.

Now, inflation is bad enough. It's an economic evil. Let's hope it stays in its own little hole. But at least inflation is a penalty we pay now. It takes money out of your pockets every day. It's sort of a pay-as-you-go penalty. But these huge deficits are a penalty that we keep deferring. We're going to leave them for you. It's not pay-as-you-go anymore. It's more like pass the plastic. It's a credit card approach. And it's your credit card we're using. What makes this debt so insidious is that so much of it is invisible.

I often say that the government ought to be forced to follow the Truth in Lending law. Every year at tax time, it should have to send out a statement to you just like your bank does. And that statement would tell every American family where he or she stands. This year, for the average family, it would go something like this-- "Dear Mr. And Mrs. Taxpayer, this year, your family's share of the national debt stands at $27,950. In the past 12 months, your shares increased by $3,980. Your share of the interest bill this year is $2,127. Have a nice day."

Now, maybe you noticed that one line is missing from that statement, the one that says "Please remit." We aren't remitting. We aren't paying our own way. Because there are no free lunches in this life. That bill has to be paid someday. And I guess you'll get the honor, unless by the way, you want to float it long enough to give it to your kids. But I sure hope you don't.

I understand you have something here at MIT called hacking. Well, somebody is pulling a hack on your future. Piling up debt to create the illusion of prosperity is a cruel hoax. And the joke, my young friends, is on you. Now let me pause. Let me ask you, how am I doing so far? Is anybody mad yet? Well, if you're not-- thank you, one guy here. If you're not, let me go one step further.

Let me tell you about our second national scandal, one that will put another dark cloud over your futures. I'm talking about a trade deficit that's gone right off the charts. Our trade deficit in goods last year was $123 billion. That's 1980, just 48 months ago, we had a $40 billion surplus. So we had a negative swing of $163 billion in less than four years. And we're on a toboggan ride right now. We will probably go to $150 billion in the hole this year alone.

These two scandals, of course, are related by the way. The trade imbalance is the bastard child of those huge deficits that raise interest rates and throw the dollar out of whack. The high dollar makes American goods cost more and give foreign products a big leg up. American companies, I'm part of one, can work night and day to get more productive.

Three years ago, we built 10 cars per employee at Chrysler per year. Now we build 20 cars per employee per year. But the currency problem just throws all that effort right out the window. That's one side of the problem. Our own fiscal irresponsibility creates that high dollar, and we can't blame anybody else for it. We have to fix that ourselves. But there's another side of the problem. Even when we are competitive, we're facing a crazy festival of trade barriers all over the place that keeps our products out of other countries.

Consider Japan. Last year, the Japanese sold us $37 billion worth of products more than we sold them. That's a $37 billion deficit with just one country in one year. If you disregard oil imports, 62% of our total grade deficit worldwide comes from trade with Japan alone. Now the high dollar counts for a lot of that, but so does the fact that Japan protects its home markets. It does so rather openly and without much apology. Japan is a free and sovereign nation. And it has a right to act in its own self-interest. But guess what. So do we.

We've got a right to go to the Japanese as close friends and trading partners and say, look, we've got us a $37 billion problem here. We can't handle that. It has to come down. For internal political reasons, you can't buy American rice or oranges, even though they're much cheaper than your own. That's OK with this. But then you'll have to cut back on some of the heavy traffic coming the other way across the Pacific. You see, that imbalance isn't just an American problem. It's Japan's problem too. It's a mutual problem because if it isn't solved soon, your Congress will be forced to take drastic action.

The Senate, god love them, has already fired a shot across their bow by voting 92 to 0 to retaliate because of Japan's closed markets. Now that's pretty significant when you consider that Congress can't even get a unanimous vote to go home for Christmas. So we'll probably see a lot of finger pointing for a while. And that could hurt everybody. Now, consenting adults just shouldn't act like that. We should sit down and reason this out-- no threats, no talk of trade war, just an absolutely firm understanding that America has something to protect too, and that we intend to protect it. We intend to protect our ability to compete. But we aren't doing that.

Last March, we took all import restrictions off of Japanese cars. We said to them, look how generous we are. Now what are you going to do for us? And the Japanese said, thank you very much. We're going to send 24% more cars in this year than we did last year. We got nothing in return. We got some promises, but we get a list of promises every year. Our guys who go to negotiate are supposed to bring home the bacon for America once in a while.

I don't blame the Japanese for a minute. They are very good businessmen. They are managing their trade according to the unwritten rules used by almost every other country in the world. And those rules are simple-- devise trade policies that help your own companies compete. We, on the other hand, are worshipping at the altar of free trade. We're blindly wedded to a set of lofty principles that everybody else in the world ignores. We've got this silly notion that it's a mortal sin to play by the rules everybody else is using. We're the ones who are out of step today, not the Japanese. They're in step with the rest of the world. We're not. I always say we're like those few crazy hockey players who still refuse to wear their helmets, and we're getting our brains beat out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in free trade. Who doesn't? I think it's a beautiful ideal. It's right up there with goodness and mercy and charity for all. But it is not one of the 10 commandments. It's not the way the world works, and we aren't going to change that all by ourselves. Maybe someday we'll achieve that ideal. I really hope so. But I'm not willing to risk your futures waiting for that blessed occasion.

You see, one impact of these twin scandals may be the deindustrialization of America. In fact, the process is really well underway. Go to Pittsburgh or to Akron or Detroit. You'll see it all around you. American heavy industry, old smokestack America is slowly dying. Many of the companies that helped build the industrial middle class, the backbone of the country in this century, are boarded up. Why? They can't compete anymore. They can't compete because our currency and trade policies have tilted the international playing field against them, and they're getting short of breath from running uphill. Maybe they could use a breather. We got one at Chrysler six years ago with the federal loan guarantees, and it saved us.

I've suggested some kind if you'll ignore the term industrial policy-- I've suggested some kind of policy to help other companies in trouble. But the purists say it would wreck free enterprise forever. I don't know why. Chrysler is a bastion of free enterprise today. We're making lots and lots of money. We're paying lots of taxes. A quarter billion in 90 days, that ain't bad for guys who were broke. 600,000 people have jobs who would have been on the street. The government never put up a cent and not only got its $1.2 billion of guarantees back seven years early, but it made $350 million on the deal to boot. Pure profit.

The Chrysler loan guarantee board wasn't a welfare office. It was a profit center. They don't have any idea what that means done in Washington, by the way. Let me be blunt. Until we fix the currency problem and write a trade policy and an industrial policy for America to compete, it's going to make less and less sense for companies to build plants and put people to work in America. Our trade deficit has already cost us three million jobs, and more going overseas every day.

The economics, when you think of it, are pretty simple. You build it in yen, and you sell it in dollars. And you don't need a degree from MIT to figure that out. Hell, they probably understand that even over at Harvard. Well--


--maybe some of you--


Right about this point, maybe some of you feel that maybe we should deindustrialize America, get rid of all those dirty smokestacks, and put everybody to work in service industries. Or hey, maybe even better, high tech. I have to admit that the weather's nicer in Silicon Valley than it is in Detroit. But let me tell you. If America gives up its industrial base, there is no future for high tech either because we smokestack guys are your best customers for all the wizardry that comes from Silicon Valley or from up here on Route 28. We put high tech to work. We put it to work in our plants. We've got robots and laser cameras all over the joint now. We've got some of the world's finest CAD/CAM facilities.

Of course, we put it to work everyday in our cars too. Our new Laser and Daytona sports cars have seven-- this is as commercial as I get today. [LAUGHTER]

--have seven mini microprocessors, or mini computers, in each car. And unless you put it to work, unless you use to compete, high tech is really just a toy. How much do you think a bag of silicon chips would bring you in a supermarket anyway? Your future depends on an America that can hook and jab in the international marketplace. Never forget that. And right now, we're falling behind, and fast. Right now, America is getting whipped. Right now, our three largest exports to Japan-- you've heard this before-- are corn-- in this order-- soybeans, coal. Japan's largest exports to us are cars, trucks, video recorders.

Raw materials and foodstuffs traded for manufactured goods. Does a pattern sound a little familiar? It's the classic definition of a colony. That's what deindustrialization and weak-kneed trade policies are doing to America. They're making us a colony again. We were a colony once before. And we got so mad, we threw the tea into the harbor, and not very far from where I'm standing, by the way. Well, here we are becoming a colony again. And I mean that. And I hope it really makes you mad.

So get mad. Don't burn the place down or start dumping things into the river here. But get mad. Get mad because some people are saying that you're going to be the first generation of Americans who will have to settle for less than their parents had. I hope to God you aren't listening to them. I hope you don't believe that because it does not have to be true. It doesn't have to be true because even though we've taken our eye off the ball, this is still America. And your birthright as Americans is to change things. And America, when people get mad enough, they can change anything. Righteous anger intelligently directed has made this the greatest democracy in the world.

I hope every cancer researcher in the country goes to work every morning mad, and every engineer and economist even, and teacher, and congressmen. Satisfied people change nothing. Only angry people change things. I got mad six years ago, really mad, when the Wall Street Journal said a little prayer over Chrysler in one of their editorials and told us in big bold type, please die with dignity. A lot of people at Chrysler got mad as hell at that kind of advice. They got so mad, they scratched, and they clawed, and they survived.

So you get mad too. Get mad at the people in Washington who are burying you under a dung heap of public debt. Tell them no more. Get mad at the free lunchers of the world and tell them no more. It's time for sacrifice. Get mad at the ideologues who want to make you martyrs to some 18th century trade principles, who want you to live in a colony. Tell them no more. We want to compete. And get mad at anybody who tells you that you have to settle for less. Tell them get the hell out of my way. You owe that to yourselves. Your education is as good as anybody can get anywhere. Remember that.

You're smart enough to compete with anybody in the world. And you deserve the chance to be the best. You owe it to yourselves and to those who follow you too. Now you're not getting a perfect world. But I hope you all appreciate what has been given to you. I hope you feel a deep appreciation for what other people have done so that you could be here today. But I also hope you understand how you pay that debt. Doesn't get paid to me or my generation or to your teachers or even to your parents.

You know, there's a scene in the movie Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. A father is very angry with his son. And he says, I carried that mailbag for 40 years so you could go to college and to medical school. You own me for that. And the son says, hey, I owe you nothing. If you carried that mailbag a million miles, you did what you were supposed to do. You owed me everything you could ever do for me, just as I will owe my kids. The son wasn't ungrateful. He loved and respected his father. But he also understood how civilization is supposed to work-- one generation making things a little better for the next. Fathers and mothers sacrificing everything for their kids. That's how we got where we are today. That's the way civilization is supposed to work.

Now my generation is leaving you with too much debt. And we're a little blind to some of the new economic realities in the world. We're leaving you with a lot of problems to solve. Big deal. But that's the way civilization works too. Every generation inherits the unfulfilled dreams of the one that came before it. And every generation inherits its own set of challenges. We were naive 40 years ago thinking we had a shot making a perfect world. But in many ways, we made it a lot better for you. And by the way, we're not through yet. Almost, but not yet.

You, more than most, have been given the tools to meet your own set of challenges. A degree from MIT just about guarantees you at least a shot at molding the future. It's a prestigious ticket, and it puts you right up in front of the pack. But let me tell you. It may also be a bit of a burden to you. People are going to expect more of you. They're expecting it to be leaders and to be winners. Your MIT degree puts you in a pole position, as they say. And the green flag is about to go up. So now let's see if you're mad enough to make this imperfect world just a little better for your kids. Let's see what you're made of. So class of '85, start your engines.


PRESENTER: Mr. Iacocca, we pride ourselves at MIT on our ability to challenge our students, to make them see things in a different way, and think about things a little bit differently. The highest praise I can give you your speech is to say that it lived fully up to MIT standards. Thank you very much.


And now, ladies and gentlemen, the John Oliver Choral and the Boston Brass ensemble conducted by John Corley will provide a musical interlude.

(SINGING) Lord, who has made us for thine own, here as we sing before Thy throne. Alleluia, alleluia. Accept Thy children's reverent praise. For all thy wondrous works and ways. Alleluia, alleluia. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.




Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.



PRESENTER: And now, Miss Inga Gado, permanent president of the senior class, will present the class gift to President Gray. Following this, President Gray will present the charge to the graduates.

INGA GADO: Thank you, Dr. Saxon. And good morning to you all. It'll be a little difficult to follow the address of such a keynote speaker as Mr. Iacocca. But I'll give it my best shot. Within the next hour, we will turn our brass rats around, move our tassels from one side to the other, and march across the stage to receive our diplomas from Dr. Gray, all signifying what we've known for at least three days now and probably longed for for years, our graduation, departure from this institute of higher learning. Commencement, however, is also a beginning. We will be alumni of the foremost technical university in the world. And someday we will be the Einsteins, Grays, and Iacoccas of this world.

And leaving this phase of our lives, we can recall the memories of these last four years. We started our MIT adventure in this very same court, and since then, have experienced probably the best and worst times we might ever have, all of which have contributed to the growth of each of us as individuals in the society.

The education we've received has been the focus of our lives here. Never have so many worked so hard for so much. In our pursuit of excellence, we have strived for the success we have achieved. But academics is only a part of our unique MIT experience. MIT has placed great demands and responsibilities upon us. And as we have learned to work hard, we've learned to play hard also. Much of the confidence and pride in ourselves that we take with us and show the world comes from those times when we were not studying. Those precious hours were spent in activities and sports too numerous to list talking with friends or just relaxing.

I think it's been the people here who have been most important to each other, the inspiration that kept us coming back for more. Our friends and special people in our lives, and, yes, our parents and families whose support was invaluable have made these for years what they were. The many exceptional, rather than merely adequate, opportunities and almost unlimited possibilities available, all qualities which make MIT the unique place it is, our due in large part to the generosity of those who came before us.

So in keeping with tradition and giving recognition to the part of our learning that developed us into the human beings that we are, the graduating class leaves a gift in our name to the MIT community in hopes of enhancing the lives of the remaining students as well as those to come. President Gray, will you join me?

In appreciation of all that we have received from MIT and the impact that the people and environment have made on our lives, we, the members of the class of 1985, wish to present to you our senior gift of $3,716. Helped by a generous matching gift from the 50th reunion class of 1935, this figure now totals $9,127. This fund will be used to develop with landscaping, seating, and appropriate trees, the corner of Danforth Street and Amherst Alley into a class of 1985 common to be a welcoming oasis for MIT students and the community members, a pleasant outdoor spot to read, study, or contemplate.

We give this gift in good faith and trust that if in future years it need be removed, the administration will replace it in like fashion to the satisfaction of the class. I'm also pleased to announce that the class of 1985 has pledged $18,535 to the alumni fund to be contributed over the next four years, much of it designated for scholarship money.

In addition, the class of 1985, in conjunction with the athletic department, has established the Jimmy Lester Award named after a former member of the athletic training staff to be given annually to a person who has contributed exceptionally to one aspect of student athletics at MIT. Dr. Gray, these gifts and pledges are our way of saying thank you. Thank you very much.

DR. PAUL GRAY: Thank you.


Thank you very much, Inga. Dr. Saxon, Mr. Iacocca, ladies and gentlemen, may I begin with the observation that I am the man in the middle. I come after the addresses by the head of Chrysler and the head of your class, and just before the ultimate awarding of your degrees, which is why you and your families came this morning. In short, I know my place. And my remarks, therefore, will be brief.

First, I want to say to each of you, congratulations. You have completed the most rigorous and demanding collegiate course of instruction in the nation. In so doing, you enter that legendary band of survivors who are proud to count themselves graduates of this great university.

Now, you've not reached this moment by yourselves. I like to think that the gift of an MIT education is priceless. But you know, and your families know, that it was not a gift, and that it certainly had a price. It is to the families that I wish first to call attention. And I call therefore upon all the graduates to join me in an expression of gratitude to the great company of family and friends who, through sacrifice and love, have made this day possible. Will the graduates please stand, face those wonderful people in the audience, and give them the applause and the thanks they so richly deserve.


I began these remarks by observing that I am the man in the middle. That's a familiar feeling for most college presidents and one I've experienced often during the past five years. It might be more accurate, however, to observe that the university is the institution in the middle-- in the middle of the continuing experiment we know as democracy. For both the university and for democratic society, the common hallmarks of the free and open expression of ideas, they embrace of pluralistic beliefs, the reliance on civil discourse, all in the development of common cause.

Just as the university takes its primary direction and priorities from the faculty, so a democratic society draws its strength and its mandate from consultation and consensus among its citizens. I would like to speak briefly this morning about the university's role in debates on matters of public interest. At the university, the principles of open expression and academic freedom has faced challenges over the years from within and without. We have weathered those challenges and have stood firm against efforts to place limits on inquiry and on open discourse among members of the academic community.

As many of you know, in the past few years, we've witnessed some efforts by the federal government to restrict information about university-based research on the grounds that without such restrictions, sensitive technologies may be transferred unintentionally to potential adversaries. These efforts have been much muted in the past year, largely because the university community has been successful in persuading policy makers in the government that science is an enterprise which depends for its vitality and for its strength on free, open, and widely-shared communication and access. And the nation depends on the vitality of science and engineering for continued prosperity, innovation, and economic growth.

We should not assume, however, that concerns regarding the independence of the universities can be put behind us. More recently, two different issues have highlighted the dilemma of the university in the middle. First, the funding of science research under President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, the program known popularly as Star Wars, has created controversy within the scientific and academic communities. We have recently learned that the SDI program will fund basic research in universities, and that the funding of some ongoing research programs, which are relevant to SDI, may be shifted to that program.

The head of the SDI's Office of Innovative Science and Technology has asserted that the participation of university researchers in SDI-funded projects will add prestige and credibility and will influence the Congress to be more generous in funding for the program. The impact of this manipulative effort to garner implicit institutional endorsement for SDI comes with special force because of the controversial nature and the unresolved public policy aspects of SDI.

Second, there has been a renewal of efforts at colleges and universities around the country, MIT included, to persuade these institutions to take an active stance against the government of South Africa and its system of apartheid.


These efforts have primarily taken the form of calls for the universities to sell their stock in US corporations which do business in South Africa. I share the view that apartheid is an evil, unsupportable, and vicious system. I would like to see it end. The sooner, the better. Even those of us who decry that system, however, hold differing views as to the consequences of divestment for the majority of people in that country, for its government, for the corporations involved, and for the universities who hold stock in those companies. There is no agreement on the best course of action. And there is a major question, again, of how far a university chartered for academic purposes and educational functions should go in the direction of using the resources entrusted to it for the purpose of influencing social policy.

In each of these two cases, efforts are made to nudge the university out of the middle, to put it in the position in which its influence and authority or prestige are used to achieve goals which are only remotely related to the academic purpose or to the vital internal interests of the university.

Now, obviously, there are situations in which it is appropriate for a university-- for this university-- to speak with an institutional voice on political issues. Our steadfast opposition to constraints on access to research and on free communication of results as in the case of technology transfer is one such example. The test, if you will, is whether the issue at hand has a clear, unambiguous, and direct connection to the essential activities of the institution. Every time a university moves beyond its boundary, it invites political treatment of its own interests, and it disenfranchises those within the institution whose views are different. Great caution is required in such matters.

This is not to say that the academic community should not participate in the debate on matters of public interest. Questions regarding the establishment of national priorities, policies, and allocation of resources must be informed by the will and judgment of the people reflected and expressed within the Congress. The national debate on these issues can and should be invigorated and illuminated by discussion and reflection within the universities. Beyond that, universities have a responsibility to communicate these insights to the public and to policymakers alike.

What I find particularly troublesome about the SDI funding is the effort to short circuit this debate and to use MIT and other universities as political instruments in an attempt to obtain implicit institutional endorsement. This university will not be so used.


Any participation at MIT in SDI-funded research will in no way be understood or used as an institutional endorsement of the SDI program. I have begun the process of communicating this view to appropriate persons in the government. And I will continue to do so.

With reference to divestment, it is the policy of the Institute to urge companies in which it invests and which do business in South Africa to comport themselves in ways which improve the status and condition of their South African employees. I believe that this policy is appropriate, both in terms of its effect on that nation, and in terms of the Institute's mission and responsibilities, and I support it.

In conclusion, I suggest once again that our continued effectiveness as an educational institution, as a focal point for research and scholarship, and as a place in which the views of all members of the community are afforded the proper respect and credibility, depends on are careful adherence to the principle that within very broad limits, we should endeavor to be neutral as an institution in all matters which do not have a direct and immediate effect on this place.

I'm convinced that holding fast to the principles of open expression, academic freedom, and institutional neutrality both serves the national interest and manifests our institutional purposes. Our greatest strength is a commitment to the unfettered exploration and discussion of ideas. Similarly, the free and open expression of ideas, the embrace of pluralistic beliefs, and the reliance on civil discourse to reach our goals are at the heart of the democratic society in which we live.

As you leave these halls, I urge you to carry these traditions with you and bring your voices and your talents to bear on the questions which will determine the future directions of this society and of this planet. Goodbye, may good sense and good fortune go with you.


DR. SAXON: Thank you, President Gray. By virtue of the authority delegated to him by the corporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and on the recommendation of the faculty, President Gray will now present the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Architecture, Master in City Planning, Master of Science, Advanced Engineer, Doctor of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. Dean Perkins, dean of the graduate school, and Professor Smith, chairman of the faculty, will invest the hoods. The name of each graduate will be read by the dean of the school. The first persons to be recognized are the class marshals who are seated on this stage.

PRESENTER: I'm pleased to recognize the marshals of the class of 1985 and the president of the Graduate Student Council, miss Inga Gado, permanent president of the class of 1985, is receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science in humanities and science.


Michael Richard Camden, president of the class of 1985, is entering the final year of a five-year program, leading to the simultaneous award of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and Bachelor of Science, as recommended by the Department of Biology. Robin Luanne Barker, executive committee member of the class of 1985, is receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.


Rene Joseph McLaren, Jr., President of the Graduate Student Council.

DR. SAXON: To all of the fine young men and women who have received their degrees today, I now say congratulations. I wish you well on your future endeavors.


The 119th graduation exercises of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now concluded. Following these exercises, the president will hold a reception in the adjacent lower Dupont and lower courts for graduates and their guests. Graduates are requested to foregather their in the area designated for their school. The audience is requested to remain seated until the completion of the academic procession. The stage assembly and graduates will now please rise. Thank you.