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Charles M. Vest


Charles M. Vest (‘63 BS)

Charles M. Vest, originally from Morgantown, W.Va., earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1963. He also received a master’s degree in 1964 and a Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Vest served as the 15th president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., from October 1990 to December 2004.

Beginning his extensive career in higher education faculty and administration at the University of Michigan, Dr. Vest was first appointed in 1967 as Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. After an extraordinary career as a scholar and teacher, he moved into academic administration in 1981 upon accepting an appointment as associate dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering. Dr. Vest was named dean of the College of Engineering in 1986 and three years later became provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Vest was well known as one of the world’s experts on holography. As an active researcher, he authored more than 50 scholarly papers and a highly regarded book, Holographic Interferometry, which was published in a Russian language edition in Moscow subsequent to its appearance in this country.

He served as a member of the Stanford University Commission on Education for the Engineering Profession, National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges; and the Board of Governors, DOE/NE Robotics Program.

He was a fellow of the Optical Society of America, a member of the American Society of Engineers, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and a charter member of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni of Mechanical Engineering at WVU.

As a WVU student, Vest was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Phi Tau Sigma and Summit of Mountain Honorary.

Mr. Vest passed away in 2013.