He always had a smile on his face. What great contributions he has made. The entire Vest family should feel so proud, though it is sad to lose a loved one.


We are very sorry to hear the sad news of Dr. Vest's passing away. He joined MIT while I was one of the oldest graduate student in Course 2 during 1989-1991 and also while our son. Ronnie, was an undergraduate and then a graduate student during 1994-2002 in Course 6. He personally helped Ronnie to resolve many problems he was facing as the youngest student at MIT. Dr. Vest made tremendous contributions to MIT in many fronts during his tenure.

We are sending our heart-felt condolences to the Vest family. Dr. Vest completed his path here on earth and may his soul now rest in peace.

Satya "Deb" Misra

My heartfelt condolences to Professor Vest's family and associates

Spiros N. Agathos

I would like to offer the families, friends, and the MIT community my sincerest condolences. I attended MIT from 1992-1997 during which time Dr. Charles Vest was the President. During this time, I was a highly active member of the MIT academic and social society. Although I did not have any direct contact with Dr. Vest outside of my commencement, the MIT I attended was truly committed to equal opportunity, diversity, excellence, social, and economic justice. I thank Dr. Vest and his colleagues for their vision in tackling the world's scientific and social problems and for their understanding that excellence in one is not complete without the other. You have inspired and educated a new generation to carry on your legacy. May you rest in peace.

Sofia Gebru, M.Eng, BS 1997

In 1994, Chuck was instrumental in carving out a place for me at MIT, a woman with no "formal" credentials. That was who is was. He had the ability to see something new and potentially valuable and made if happen. I had the privilege of getting to know him just a bit--as much as he would allow a stranger to enter into his private world. In those too few one-on-one conversations, I experience a profound sense of the man-- one of great integrity, kindness, vision and quiet intelligence. My deepest condolences to Becky and the family. This, truly, is a great loss for us all. I do and will forever miss him.

Felice Frankel

After getting my M.Sc. degree in 1990 from the University of Michigan, I moved to MIT to follow my Ph.D. degree and President Vest and his kind Wife welcomed new coming international graduate students. I have never forgotten their very sincere and polite welcome to us. Please accept my condolences.

Ph.D., 95, Nuclear Engineering

Siddik Sinan Keskin

My condolences to the Vest family. President Vest was a great and gracious man. I always remember the commencement year when he repeated on various occasions that "Leaders are those that take us elsewhere." During his years as president, I often had the opportunity to briefly talk with him and Dr. Vest always took the time to reciprocate. Years later, during an Alumni Leadership Conference activity, I mentioned to him that I always remembered his "Leaders are those that take us elsewhere" words. He immediately remembered them but quickly added that those were words he had picked up from a good friend. He mentioned to me who that person was but the name escapes me now.

I was lucky to meet President Vest on the many occasions when I visited MIT and on many opportunities when he participated in Washington, D.C. and Maryland venues. I will always remember Dr. Vest. He was the perfect embodiment of MIT. It was an honor to have known President Charles M. Vest.

John Acevedo, Physics, MIT Class of 1967

Chuck West was a leader. I met him several times at alumni events and was impressed with his candor, vision and humility. He will be remembered for his great contributions to MIT and to education. My condolences to family. Abhay Bhushan MIT 965-1970

Abhay Bhushan

I came to MIT as a post-doctoral fellow during Chuck Vest's tenure. I was shocked to learn about his death from MIT website and for the next 3-4 hours I couldn’t stop my tears as I watched his interviews. Simply put, President Vest represented the very best of an educator, leader and visionary. He will stand out as one of the greatest MIT presidents for his qualities-simplicity, integrity and humility. MIT community has lost a great leader and friend while the country lost a great Patriot.

Rao Varada

I was a student when President Vest at MIT, being an International Student, I always adored his visionaries’ speeches and MIT transformed my life. Rest in peace President Vest, Please accepts my condolence on his demise.

Hilman Akil

I felt shocked by the news. He was president of MIT during my study there and hence has always been my president (although he jokingly called himself a small replica of the real thing when he was next to Bill Clinton). His passing somehow reminds me of the passing of the youth of our generation. He, together with the Charles river, will always remain in my memory.

My deepest condolences to the Vest family and our community.


Dear Vest Family,

I am so sorry for your great loss. Chuck is a great loss to the entire MIT community. Chuck played a big role in my ability to attend MIT on full scholarship with his brave stance on financial aid. As with so many things, he was a true leader, a trailblazer, standing for what he believed was right. I was fortunate enough to run into him many times on campus as an undergrad and I always conveyed my appreciation to him. I was also fortunate enough to be part of the original team that launched OpenCourseWare, another critical initiative for MIT which couldn't have happened without Chuck's leadership and support.

I will forever feel fortunate that I was a student during his tenure- I will miss him dearly.

My deepest condolences,

Farnaz Haghseta, SB '96, MEng '97, MS '03

My condolences to you and your family. President Vest or "Chuck" as we referred to him was such a nice man and a great leader for MIT! He will be missed!!!!

Lei Lei (MIT undergrad class of 2002)

I was a member of the Steering Committee for the massive Capital Campaign that Chuck Vest proposed and organized. On of the benefits of that assignment was to learn of what a wonderful blend of vision,integrity, leadership. and inspiration that he was.

Chuck's last name should have started with a "B"!

Jerome E. Vielehr, Class of '56, Course 6


Jerome E. Vielehr

What a human being !! Chuck Vest represented the very best academia could ever offer to the world. I can't believe he is gone…
In mourning,

Bish sanyal

Dr. Vest and I both arrived at MIT in 1990, and I always felt that this was the basis for our friendship, like exchange students needing to stick together. I met him during his institute-wide welcome party and several more times throughout my years there, and he was unfailingly friendly, gracious, and genuinely interested in my life. I really considered him and his wife to be my personal friends. Now all these years later I can truly appreciate how extraordinary he was, accomplishing so many incredible things while still caring about an 18-year-old crossing his path.

Anne Kohnen McQuaid '95

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Vest. MIT changed my life. Dr. Vest, thank you for having provided us with the institution which helps our dream come true.

Hiroshi Menjo

I was an usher for President Vest's welcoming gala. I will remember him as a warm, gracious, good person. My deepest condolences to the Vest family. He will be missed.

Joe del Callar

As a grateful MIT alumna (Course X '58 and '66), I was delighted to join the MIT Energy Lab staff in 1990 - shortly after Chuck Vest took over the presidency of MIT. His leadership was thoughtful, his dedication to the Institute was amazing, his listening and communication skills throughout the community at large were a gift to everyone. I am one of many, many people who admire his many contributions to MIT, to the engineering communities through his leadership of the National Academy of Engineering, and the nation. My thoughts and prayers go to Becky and the rest of his family. We all have lost a wonderful leader and friend.

Elisabeth M Drake

I sang with the Chorallaries of MIT from 1999-2003. Chuck Vest was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and student groups at MIT. We were invited to perform at events at his house many times. He was a gracious host, and always so excited to see us. We roasted him at Bad Taste because we loved him. Thank you for the memories, Dr. Vest - you will be fondly remembered, always.

Amy (Schonsheck) Simpkins, SB 2003

I was shocked to hear of the passing of Charles Vest! I studied engineering at the University of Michigan in the late 70’s, and he was on the faculty teaching various courses at that time. We ran into each other several times over the course of my studies. After a stint at Cummins Engine Company’s R&D Center in Columbus, I went to MIT to complete my PhD (‘88) under Karl Hedrick. At the time Paul Gray was President of MIT, and Charles Vest would be elected to that position two years after my graduation, so we didn’t cross paths there.

From my experiences at Michigan, I know Charles to be a wonderful colleague, a terrific and highly respected educator/instructor, and a very friendly, personable, and approachable fellow. It is a terrible shame to lose such a talented individual at such a young age. His contributions were enormous. I consider myself very fortunate to have crossed paths with him at Michigan.

His loss hits close to home, as another dear friend of mine from high school (Dr. Norman Letvin, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Chief of the Division of Viral Pathogenesis, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) also recently passed away from pancreatic cancer, so this news is a sad reoccurrence. I was part of Norm’s memorial at Harvard, and I hope that Charles’ memorial at MIT is a fitting tribute to his life and contributions. My sincerest regards go out to his family and friends, and I wish them strength at this difficult time.

John J. Moskwa (Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison) PhD '88 (Course 2)

you have been truly inspirational Dr. Vest

Prabhat Sinha (MS, 2002)

Dear Vest Family:

I wanted to convey my condolences to you on the tragic and premature loss of one the most incredible human beings I ever had the honor to know.

I was a student of Dr. Vest's at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1978. He, without a doubt, had the most significant influence on a life path that led me to a rewarding career in the aerospace industry. His innate ability to teach and convey his knowledge to those of us that were his students has had an a lasting impact that I will be eternally grateful for.

I had the privilege of contributing to NASA's Galileo mission to explore Jupiter. I was also involved in NASA's cutting edge infrared technology program Thematic Mapper. Among other capabilities Thematic Mapper was used to identify the types of crops that were being grown worldwide as well as determine their state of health from 400 nautical miles in space.

Dr. Vest exemplified the quote that when a butterfly flaps its wings it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world. If you multiply my small contributions to technology by the thousands of students that were influenced both directly and indirectly by Dr. Vest throughout his life, the technological whirlwind he created has had a significant, indisputable impact on society as a whole. Only a select few individuals can be credited with such a spectacular legacy.

While I am not family, nor can I be considered a close friend, I wanted you to know that there are those of us whose lives Dr. Vest touched that share in your deep sense of loss at his passing.

Bless you and the memory of Charles Vest.

Alan Isack

I was not aware of President Vest's illness until this message. It was terrible news. I send my sincere condolences to Mrs. Vest and the MIT community. I'll never forget that in 1992 the Justice Dept. filed an unjustified anti-monopoly case against twenty colleges for having a mutual agreement about how to apportion funds for helping deserving students, so as not to have an unrestrained competition for the best, leaving many without help. MIT, under Chuck Vest, was the only school which fought the case and won. The man had principles and courage.

Hubert I. Flomenhoft, '47

President Vest arrived at MIT during my student years. Being a lowly undergraduate, I did not have much contact with him except for my service on the 1992 Commencement Committee, when I attended a couple of meetings with him. He did have a friendly conversation with my parents and me during a cocktail reception at graduation week, and both my parents remarked at how warm and down-to-earth he was. I also had a brief chat with both he and Mrs. Vest at my ten-year reunion. He certainly loved MIT and represented us with a great deal of ability and class, and the Institute benefited from his wise and gracious leadership. The highest praise that can be given is to assert that President Vest left MIT stronger than he found it. Ave atque vale, sir.

John V. Ward '92