Remembering Mary Morrissey, whose service to MIT spanned 45 years

Mary Louise Morrissey, whose profession at MIT spanned 45 years, together with her service as director of the Data and Particular Occasions Middle, handed away peacefully on Jan. 17 on the age of 95.

Morrissey joined the MIT neighborhood in 1950, working within the Registrar’s Workplace. On the time, all pupil transcripts had been handwritten in India ink, and it was maybe there — if not throughout her pupil days in Catholic colleges — that she developed her exact and stylish script. One other accountability of the registrar’s employees on the time was to notarize college students’ draft-board and different paperwork and — throughout the Chilly Struggle period — school signatures on loyalty oaths. One pupil on the time, Paul Grey ’54, SM ’55, ScD ’60, recalled that he was not the one one who discovered a number of causes to have issues notarized by the charming but in addition considerably intimidating Morrissey. A couple of a long time later, she organized his inauguration because the 14th president of MIT.

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Over time, her duties grew, because the Data Middle turned a part of the higher President’s Workplace. The middle coordinated the logistics for faculty-sponsored conferences and main Institute occasions. It oversaw the student-guided campus excursions for potential college students and greeted guests from all through the nation and abroad. In time, the middle developed an array of companies to facilitate the appointment and help of students and researchers from all around the world — what’s at present the Worldwide Students Workplace.  

Morrissey was maybe finest recognized at MIT because the impresario of numerous Institute occasions, together with new constructing dedications, milestone anniversaries, presidential inaugurations, memorial companies, and the annual graduation workout routines. David Ferriero, lately retired archivist of america, labored with Morrissey on occasions when he was a librarian at MIT: “Mary Morrissey introduced type, grace, and magic to graduation and inauguration ceremonies, new constructing dedications, and the standard of Institute life for college students, school, and employees.” 

Among the many many inventions she orchestrated was transferring the Graduation workout routines in 1979 from Rockwell Cage (the place they’d been held since 1927) outdoor to Killian Court docket — regardless of skepticism and predictions of catastrophe from many quarters. Her essential school associate on this endeavor was Professor Emeritus Gerald L. Wilson, former dean of the Faculty of Engineering and chair of the Graduation Committee on the time, who turned a superb good friend, as did so many who labored together with her. “Mary had very excessive requirements for every part she did on behalf of the Institute,” Wilson says. “She did so with a seriousness of goal that by no means blurred her fantastic humorousness. For a lot of, her throaty chortle belied that stern look when ‘Miss Mary’ was not amused. She was an ideal good friend to many. She definitely was one of many particular ones that made being within the MIT neighborhood not only a vocation, however an exquisite expertise.”

An exemplar of the iron fist in a velvet glove, she was in a position to persuade individuals from all corners of the Institute — school members, carpenters, college students, directors, custodians, and trustees — to share her imaginative and prescient of how finest to mark important events within the lifetime of the Institute, and are available collectively to make it actuality. In recognition of her many contributions to MIT, she was made an honorary member of the Alumni Affiliation in 1995, the identical 12 months through which she retired.

By way of all of it, she was a gifted mentor to people from many quarters of the Institute, however none extra so than to her quick employees.

Gayle Gallagher, lately retired as government director of MIT Institute Occasions, says, “Mary was one in all my dearest buddies for greater than 40 years. We shared an abundance of snickers, a number of tears, and nice affection and respect at all times. Within the early years of my profession, I most valued her position as mentor for almost 15 years. Mary was politically astute, an amazing decide of character, and a fearless and imaginative occasions creator. The teachings I realized had been innumerable and she or he was my most stalwart champion. She gave me confidence I might by no means have recognized with out her nurturing and guiding hand. I cherished her dearly.”


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