An introduction from Karl W. Reid ’84, SM ’85: MIT’s new Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Reid: “Together, we will continue to make MIT the envy of the world.”

10326 screen shot 2024 03 06 at 11.42.08 pm
Karl W. Reid, MIT’s first Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Courtesy of MIT Institute Community and Equity Office

In an Institute Community & Equity Office newsletter, Karl W. Reid ’84, SM ’85, MIT’s first Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, introduced himself to the MIT community with a note titled, “Coming Full Circle.” Reid highlighted his long ties to the Institute, from his past leadership positions to his upbringing. 

Reid began by stating, “As an engineer, I appreciate patterns.” In 1998, Reid was tapped to direct the MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science Program (MITES), and was welcomed by his master’s thesis advisor and now Professor Emeritus in the Course 3, John VanderSande. 

After leaving the Institute for the United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C., Dan Hastings, then the Dean of undergraduate education, “graciously hosted a celebration in my honor,” Reid said. Hastings recently served as the Interim Institute Community and Equity Officer prior to Reid’s hiring. “Truly a full circle moment,” Reid wrote. 

Reid thanked Hastings for “stepping in and shepherding the Institute Community and Equity Office this past year.” He also acknowledged the “foundational work” of former Institute Community and Equity Officers John Dozier and Ed Bertschinger. Finally, he thanked President Sally Kornbluth for her work in creating a presidential cabinet position “in keeping with her unwavering commitment to equity and belonging at the Institute.”

“MIT has always had a special place in my heart,” Reid wrote. Reid emphasized the Institute's role in his life, stating that “in my high school years, I visited my older brother in Chocolate City”; later on, upon his graduation from MIT, “I watched my usually undemonstrative father tear up with pride as I thanked him for getting me there.” He called his father’s life journey, in which two of his children who were graduates of a revered institution, “a dream deferred, but not denied.”

Reid stated that his father’s story “fuels my work” to create access and opportunities for those who have been marginalized and underserved.” He highlighted that “it drives me to engineer spaces where everyone feels seen, valued, and heard.”

“The road ahead to a more inclusive future is fraught with uncertainty,” Reid wrote. He expressed concerns about “increasing fragmentation and siloed echo chambers.” Regardless, Reid remained optimistic about the prospects of the Institute striving towards a stronger community.

He concluded, “Together, we will continue to make MIT the envy of the world.”