An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Fifty years ago, in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a new legacy was born at MIT: Project Interphase, a summer session for incoming first-year MIT students that aims to ease the transition to MIT and build community among new students.

In October 2019, alumni, current students, faculty, staff, administrators, friends, and family gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the program, today known as Interphase EDGE (Empowering Discovery, Gateway to Excellence).

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the MIT Office of Minority Education, which coordinates the program, welcomed back Shirley Ann Jackson ’68, PhD ’73, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and one of the leaders behind the original idea for the program; as well as several members of the Project Interphase inaugural cohort, including Sylvester “Jim” Gates ’73, PhD ’77, a professor of physics at Brown University.

A new video celebrates the history of Interphase EDGE, which now extends beyond an initial summer session into students’ first two academic years. “I recall that experience being really instrumental in helping me to feel a part of the MIT community,” says Eboney Hearn ’01, who is now the executive director of MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs.

Adds Gates: “It was the singular, most important academic experience I ever had in my life.”

Video by MIT Video Productions 

This story originally appeared on MIT News.

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