L. Rafael Reif has served as the 17th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since July 2012. Before taking on the presidency, Reif served for seven years as MIT’s Provost. In this role, he helped create and implement the strategy that allowed MIT to weather the global financial crisis; drove the growth of MIT’s global strategy; promoted a major faculty-led effort to address challenges around race and diversity; fostered the emergence of the Kendall Square innovation cluster; helped launch the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science; and spear-headed the development of the Institute’s latest experiment in online learning, MITx and edX.
A member of the MIT faculty since 1980, Reif has served as director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories and headed the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. An early champion of MIT’s engagement in micro- and nanotechnologies, he was instrumental in launching a research center on novel semiconductor devices at MIT, as well as multi-university research centers on advanced and environmentally benign semiconductor manufacturing. For his work in developing MITx, he received the 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award.
An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Reif is the inventor or co-inventor on 15 patents, has edited or co-edited five books and has supervised 38 doctoral theses. In 1993, he was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) “for pioneering work in the low-temperature epitaxial growth of semiconductor thin films.”
He received the degree of Ingeniero Eléctrico from Universidad de Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela, and his doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.