Thursday, September 18, 2008

The New Year

For most the new year begins in January, for those in academia it begins in September when the new school year starts. There are milestones of change all around. Stressed trees begin to change color; clouds shift from summer's billowing thunderheads to the ominous gray slate banks of cloud portending rain and cold. New faces grace our community here at MIT and each class has its own personality. The Red Sox wind down and the Patriots and Bruins begin anew their pursuit of glory or redemption.

I walked yesterday to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate platelets and noticed that the nameless "They" have finally finished the T Station at Charles Street and MGH; the Liberty Hotel has had a summer to get it's act together and the Charles Street Jail and Buzzy's Roast Beef fade into memory. We have also said good bye to people here at MIT. Robert Hulsizer, Alex D'Arbeloff, Robert Seamans, Jr., Joe Kuchta, Jack Howard, Laura Capone, Michael Hammer, Lucian W. Pye. There will be a memorial service for Alex on October 17th at 3:30 PM in Kresge Auditorium. Bob Hulsizer will be remembered on October 19th at 3 PM in the MIT Chapel.

Bob Hulsizer brought new life to Ashdown House, the graduate dormitory on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Amherst Street where he and Carol presided. But even Ashdown has changed moving to the northwest corner of campus where it has been reborn with a new Hulsizer Room. The old Ã…shdown is now called W-1 and is in the process of being reborn as a home to undergraduates.

Some find transitions difficult, and the pace of MIT makes it even more important that we pause and note what we have gained and what we have lost. It does not balance out, but remembering allows us to enliven our community by holding close the contributions of all to our collective memory.

I like to think that MIT folk were more familiar with Buzzy's than they were with the Charles Street Jail. I know that the gifts to this community given by Bob Seamans , Bob Hulsizer and Alex D'Arbeloff were enormous and the contributions of others made us all richer. Because things change does not mean that we forget. That is a good thing to be mindful of at the beginning of the year.