As you know by now, our mutual friend and colleague, Dave Staelin, passed away of cancer on November 10. We will miss him dearly.
As described in MIT’s remembrance of him, Dave dedicated his long career to basic science, technology development, service, education, and entrepreneurship, and the result was one of abundant accomplishment and widespread impact.
At StaelinFest last July, which many of you were able to attend, we celebrated with Dave his remarkable career. It was a special and wonderful occasion, and the gathering meant a great deal to Dave and his family.
Now we mourn his passing, and several of you have expressed a desire for some way for us to appropriately honor his memory and legacy, and the tremendous inspiration he was to all of us.
Dave remained very active in his final weeks, and came to campus regularly. Over that time, he initiated several discussions, during which he shared his hopes and wishes for MIT in the coming years. There were ultimately many causes that mattered a great deal to Dave, but one in particular he emphasized was support for new graduate students in RLE.
Dave felt strongly that MIT’s ability to offer admission, and provide the best training to as many of the most qualified applicants as possible, hinges increasingly on the financial support available. In the past, flexible support of first-year graduate students was abundant at MIT (and elsewhere). This flexibility gave students the time to find the best possible supervision for their research, and the latitude to explore the most promising directions. Increasingly, however, such flexibility has declined, motivated by a range of factors including both the constraints inherent in current funding, and the change in the way admissions takes place at MIT and its peer institutions. Given this, it was Dave’s desire to find ways to restore some of this flexibility.
In response, and with Dave’s permission and guidance in the process, RLE has set up the David H. Staelin Fund to provide support for first-year graduate students in RLE. Via this fund, we seek to not only address the graduate student support concern Dave shared, but also, as importantly, to honor Dave’s memory and celebrate the important values Dave championed through his professional life so that they might be absorbed by generations of students to come.
If you would like to contribute to the David H. Staelin Fund, you can do so by visiting the link, www.rle.mit.edu/staelinfund. We hope that you will find this purpose worthy of your kind support.