An MIT Alumni Association Publication

MIT Alumnus Elected Governor of Puerto Rico

  • Jay London
  • 40

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Puerto Rico governor-elect Ricky Rosselló, pictured here with his MIT Brass Rat, is 2001 Course 10 graduate. Picture courtesy Ricardo Rossello on Facebook.

Ricardo "Ricky" Rosselló ’01 was elected governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on Nov. 8. A biomedical engineer and neurobiologist by training, Rosselló earned his doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan and completed postgraduate work in stem cell research at Duke University. He is a co-founder of Beijing Prosperous Biopharm, a drug development company focused on cancer, neurodegeneration problems, diabetes, and HIV.

Rosselló is the second MIT-educated elected governor from Puerto Rico. Luis A. Ferré '24, SM '25 served as the commonwealth's governor from 1969–1973.

Rosselló is also the co-founder of Boricua ¡Ahora Es!, a political advocacy group that supports US statehood for Puerto Rico. According to NBC News, Rosselló campaigned focused on a pro-statehood platform.

"Puerto Rico: Pro-Statehood Candidate Ricardo Rosselló Wins Governor Race,” NBC News, Nov. 8, 2016

Rosselló, a scientist and the son of a former governor who also sought statehood for Puerto Rico, argues that barring island residents from voting for president deprives 3.5 million people of their full rights. He also says statehood would boost an economy mired in a decade-long slump, a belief that resonated with many voters.

Rossello was a 2001 Scholar All-America and captain of the men's varsity tennis team. Image via The Tech, March 20, 2001.

A Course 10 graduate, Rosselló was president of the Association of Puerto Rican Students and captain of MIT’s varsity tennis team. According to DAPER records, he was named Scholar All-America in the 2000-2001 season.

As of the 2016 United States elections, Rosselló is one of three governors or governors-elect within the United States government. John Sununu ’98, a Course 1E graduate, was elected governor of New Hampshire and Thomas Wolf PhD ’81, a Course 17 graduate, was elected governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

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Sat, 11/19/2016 2:30pm

Such a moron

In reply to by Jorge


Fri, 11/18/2016 3:40pm


Certainly Ricardo Rosselló have a very impressive curriculum vitae and no doubt that also he is a distinguish student at MIT. He father Dr. Pedro J. Rosselló was a good man with noble intentions of serve his island Puerto Rico, during his administration as governor he did great things for the citizen of PR. He have the back luck of having a lot of bad apples under his terms as governor.

My brother is a Policeman a he knows Ricky's grandfather, and also was a good men too. I wish the best to elected governor Ricardo Roselló.


Fri, 11/18/2016 3:31pm

I bet he got a straights A in Corruption 101

Francisco Rodriguez

Thu, 11/17/2016 4:07pm

This would be the second Governor of Puerto Rico that i also an MIT Alumni the first being Luis A. Ferre Governor of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1972 MIT 1924

Jorge L. De Jesus

Tue, 12/27/2016 11:42am

Wow it is amazing that we or some are not giving credit to Dr.Rosselló after achieving his educational goals and attending MIT. My daughter went to MIT and nothing was given it was EARNED. So, those who want to attend MIT simply apply. As far as corruption, is everywhere even in the US. Give this man a chance to move the country forward. As far as statehood, the poor people will suffer because they do not have the money to pay property taxes and insurance and everything that they had work for would be taken away or lost. I hope that during these next four years the economy and jobs will improve in the Island Puerto Rico deserves the best.

Jorge L. De Jesus


Sat, 11/19/2016 2:47am

If only you knew how smart he was (in everything except science)... one of his ideas was to build a pipeline from Texas to Puerto Rico so we could bring in gas at lower prices.

The reason he won was because of his last name "Rosselló". His father was our Governor during a time of financial abundance and we all have fond memories of it. Sadly it was when much of the island's current debt started taking off. What some have written is true, he is very conservative. Not necessarily a bad thing just pointing it out. His views are in line with Mike Pence's. He also once plagiarized a political column from someone from another country, no legal action followed but if you read both columns some parts were copied ad verbatim. Still he won and we must give him a chance and judge him at the end of his term. Most of the people who comment here praising past Governors are political fanatics.

Soco S. Montanez

Sat, 11/19/2016 11:35am

Ricardo is not against de LGBTT community, he is just in the side of moral and Christian values. That's all. And just because you don't agree with his standars, and views, that makes him not good enough for you?

Corruption in PR has a name and you know it very well.
The rights of others starts where yours end.

In reply to by Jorge

Clarise Snyder

Fri, 11/18/2016 9:41am

The Roselló family is a good family. There is no corruption in that entire family. if there was corruption in the administration it did not stem from Roselló. I knew his parents and his entire family. I grew up in the house across the street from where Pedro grew up. Great people.

In reply to by Jorge


Thu, 11/17/2016 10:05pm

He is against LBGT rights and gender equality. His father's (a past governor) administration has been one of the most corrupt in the islands history. Such principles are not aligned with MIT culture of inclusion or the value set the Institution should embrace.

This is in many ways disrespectful to many Puerto Rican MIT students as you may see in MIT's facebook page top comments. There are ethics to journalism and even more when it comes from such an institution. I suggest this be taken down, it is not an accomplishment in itself to become a governor. Things need context and depth, is a very misleading and irresponsible publication. I suggest you consider taking it down.

Jorge Silén
M.Arch MIT


Fri, 03/24/2017 9:06pm

Ricky Rossello is an honorable man! Period! I know the man.

Martin L. Broc…

Wed, 12/28/2016 12:10am

So you are, among other things, admitting he is corrupt ?

In reply to by Jorge L. De Jesus

Martin L. Broc…

Sat, 12/17/2016 12:19pm

In line with Mike Pence's ??

How grotesque -- and revealing.

Pence is a well-known -- and highly conspicuous -- bigot.

He holds himself out as " so so holier than thou " -- while when he turns his back he wishes the worst, and unthinkable, harm to LGBT people, and to women. Look it up if you don't know the facts on this. Awful. Medieval.

He is just another bigot and petty wannabe theofascist, perpetually wanting to use his " religion " as a violent weapon.

I'd love to wipe that glued-on, and oh so pretended smile right off his face.

And, just like a person with these toxic traits -- " Mr. " Pence is always condescending and a pathological liar. Have you noticed ? ... Did you listen to him at the VP Debate -- constant condescenions and lie, after lie, after lie. Same on the campaign trail, and whenever he opens his mouth. Don't be fooled by the fake smile and studied mild manneredness. Shameless. Absolutely shameless. And dangerous.

He belongs off the streets -- a clear and present danger to society, and very in particular to LGBT people, and women. Just like his " running mate " . OFF THE STREETS.

In reply to by Hector


Tue, 11/22/2016 8:17pm

I agree!

In reply to by Clarise Snyder


Tue, 11/22/2016 8:15pm

Que patéticos comentarios! Desprendase del odio y el fanatismo! En hora buena el triunfo de Ricardo Rosselló!

In reply to by Jorge

Lucíla Romero

Sat, 11/19/2016 8:33am

41% con 6 partidos políticos corriendo . De esos 6, 5 pro independencia . O sea que él tuvo que batallar contra 5. Y en nuestro sistema democrático político gana el que más votos obtenga . El 41% de él fue el más alto de los 6 con 49,000 votos de ventaja.
Su padre fue el mejor gobernador de PR . No dejes que el independentismo te nuble el entendimiento .
Dios bendiga a Puerto Rico y a América .

In reply to by Clarise Snyder

María Palmer

Fri, 11/18/2016 2:54pm

So sorry for your words. You should be best informed before posting your comment. Pedro Rosselló was one of the best governors Puerto Rico had.
Bajo su mandato se hicieron leyes para q los delitos sobre corrupción no prescribieran. Anteriormente las personas corruptas simplemente pedían perdón por sus actos y dejaban el cargo q ostentaban y that's it.. Ahora no. Ahora todo crimen de corrupción se paga con carcel y por eso en su administración cayeron tantos...

In reply to by Jorge


Fri, 11/18/2016 12:59pm

I smell envy!

In reply to by Jorge

Clarise Snyder

Thu, 11/17/2016 9:50pm

Don Luis Ferre was a friend of my parents and sn advocate for statehood. He funded the Sala de Puerto Rico in the Student Center. Ricky Rosello's father Pedro, former governor of the island, grew up across the street from us in San Juan. Both Dr. Rosello and Rickybm are statehood advocates.

In reply to by Francisco Rodriguez

Jay London

Thu, 11/17/2016 4:55pm

Hello Francisco,

Thank you for the information. I have updated the story accordingly. Thank you for reading!


Jay London

In reply to by Francisco Rodriguez

Would've loved…

Tue, 01/31/2017 6:54am

Puertoricans are looking for Jesus to govern them, and even then, they will find something wrong with him.

Martin L. Broc…

Sat, 12/17/2016 11:38am

It doesn't matter what the excuse is -- bigotry is bigotry. Period.

Harming others, who themselves are not harming others, is a crime.

Picking a religion doesn't make you better -- or holy -- or " moral " .

And using religion as a weapon is one of the most despicable, and grotesque, things imaginable. It also disgraces and defiles that religion; not to mention the height of hypocrisy.

Additionally, I am so very glad for Jorge's words, and information; not to mention articulateness, if I may say. THANK YOU JORGE !!

Any presentation, such as a reporter's article, that does not tell enough of THE WHOLE TRUTH is a lie -- an intentional or negligent omission of a material fact, or facts. PERIOD.

Ever serve on a jury ? ... Things look very different after ALL of the evidence is presented.

Thank you Jorge, for correcting the record. Thank you !!!

In reply to by Soco S. Montanez


Fri, 11/18/2016 4:31pm

Don Juan Rossello, Ricky's grandfather was a psychiatrist. His wife doña Iris was a wonderful lady. Pedro, Ricky's father and former governor is also an MD. A great family of very well educated people. No corruption attributable to any of them. It is actually amazing that they felt the responsibility to try to help the island, to try to give back. Very unfair that people talk without knowing. Slanderous.

In reply to by Jack


Fri, 11/18/2016 3:55pm

This is slander.

In reply to by ME


Thu, 11/17/2016 10:49pm

This article is in many ways disrespectful to the Puerto Rican community at large. There are ethics to journalism and even more when it comes from such an institution. Its clear that the person who wrote this knows very little about Puerto Rico’s history and is just contributing to misinforming the public.

Ricky Roselló is against LBGT rights and gender equality. Such principles are not aligned with MIT culture of inclusion or the value set the Institution should embrace. Many of the policies that he supports will contribute to the deterioration of Puerto Rico’s already suffering economy. This is a continuation of past political and ethics stands that have brought suffering to most of the island’s residents. He is the son of a past governor whose time in office brought a wave of corruption scandals that finalized in dozens of arrests and convictions. Puerto Rico has been imposed with a Fiscal Control Board to which the citizens had no say in and to whom this new elected governor will have to respond to. To celebrate any part of this is in itself taking a political stance.

It should be left clear that to become a governor is no accomplishment in itself. Things need context and depth. This is a very misleading and irresponsible article which celebrates something that merits no celebration at all. I suggest it be taken down.


Jorge Silén
MIT M.Arch Student


Fri, 01/20/2017 10:13pm

I am glad he won I hope he will get a chance to govern the island as his father did or better-after more than 119 years 3.5 million American Citizens should have the right to decide to weather they want to be a state of the greatest union of the world or become a banana republic of the Caribbean. He can be the Person who can help us do it..
So sad that most of our mainland counterparts don't know that Puerto Ricans are American born citizen and vs some Puerto Ricans don't know they are Americans either


Mon, 11/21/2016 9:57am

I'm a social liberal and I don't know whether Ricky is for or against LGBT rights. What I do know is that he is not a moron. MIT admissions does not accept MORONS.

In reply to by Emilio


Thu, 07/06/2017 1:29pm

Yes, They do. If you have the money ;)

In reply to by csnyder

Edison Wong

Sun, 01/01/2017 3:38am

As Jorge said, let's give this man a chance.

Amusing that Dr. Brock has already labelled this man corrupt from his actions before assuming office -- none of which involved his attempt or intent to break any laws.

I challenge Dr. Brock to find an US President or governor without a hint or allegation of corruption! There are many candidates who are not corrupt, but I'd dare say none of them were electable for governor.

Give the man a chance to make a difference, since he is already elected. And be a part of the solution by encouraging him to make the right decisions, not a part of the problem by diverting the discussion to your own political prejudices and platform.


Sun, 12/25/2016 10:25am

He was elected and that is an step in the right direction and I believe that part of his
goals and dreams. We will find out how well he performs. He inherit a great debt and confront an immense challenge . The world has a problem as well a Puerto Rico.One percent of the wealth is available for the 99% of the people. How a government with such a little budget an such a big population dependent is able to run it successful providing the basic needs of it people ? By reaching money through loans,donations, increasing taxes, educating well it people, giving money away ? That is the question . What is the answer to run it wisely and successful providing the people need and loaners payments, with such an small amount(1% of the wealth ) . We should embrace in a deep wise thought for the answer as well as the new governor .


Sat, 12/17/2016 3:19pm

One can be a good or normal person and still benefit from cronyism. Modern corruption isn't cash bribes, it's special favors. If no money changes hands, then it's not corruption, right?
As others have noted, the previous Roselló administration was more egregious with its cronyism than others, but it wasn't above outright theft. See an example:

As for Ricky Roselló himself, well... He is indeed a nice guy, and he did go to the 'Tvte. However, a degree is not a guarantee of character. I've got an MIT degree, too, and that doesn't automatically make me honest, nor trustworthy. It just means I passed my classes.

A special faculty position was created for him at the University of Puerto Rico in 2012. At the time, the university was in the middle of a hiring freeze, and Dr Rosselló had published approximately four papers total. Nobody else was allowed to apply for the job, not even other professors at the university who had been waiting years for a full-time position to open up. I'm sure Ricky didn't request the job be created just for him, but he didn't turn it down, either.
Dr Rosselló left the position after just 2 years, though he did manage to have a book approved for publication by the University of Puerto Rico Press before he had even written it:

Finally, I note that Ricky Rosselló's wikipedia article makes much of his prowess in high school: " At the time, Ricardo was mostly known for his academic and athletic accomplishments, having represented Puerto Rico internationally in the International Mathematical Olympiads."
As a high school student, Ricky Rosselló was ranked 11th on the island in 1996. Respectable! But the IMO team consists of only four people. Ricky Rosselló made it onto the IMO team after the students ranked 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th were passed over for selection on the grounds that the team needed to be "more balanced" by specifically "including more public school students". Most of the disqualified students attended public schools. Ricky Rosselló attended a private school -- but he was the governor's son. I know that Ricky didn't request the rules be changed to put him on the team -- but he didn't turn it down, either, nor did he complain when the UPR faculty mentors resigned in protest.

I'd like to think that Ricky Rosselló will be a fair and honest governor, but I'll wait and see.

martin c. graham

Sat, 12/17/2016 9:51am

What are their party affiliations- ?? I would surmise that the Governor of NH is a a republican and the Governor of PR is a Democrat- ?
(I am too dystopically paralyzed to look it up myself...)
[This message was sent from Woodstock- in the "Quiet Corner" of Conn.- ]

Julio Rodrigue…

Wed, 11/30/2016 7:10am

Proud of our current elected Governor and look forward to meet Ricky Rosello in the near future.

Julio Rodriguez REM,CEA
Environmental Safety and Health Consultant

Jose Amoros

Sat, 11/19/2016 8:32am

Those that argument against Rosselló family are named here "politiqueros". They are persons that do not believe in statehood or came from another political party different than Rosselló.

The majority of Puertorricans are proud that another Rosselló was elected as our governor. And in this case, Ricardo graduate from MIT same as Luis Ferre, will do a great job in favor of all Puertorricans no matter the political party or ideological status they prefers.

Roberto Gonzalez

Fri, 11/18/2016 3:59am

I like to correct a little mistake at the MIT Report. Luis A. Ferré a first Puerto Rico (PR) Governor graduated from MIT his term was as PR Governor from 1969 to 1972. The period on the MIT Report is incorrect.
Thank you

Dori Davari

Fri, 11/18/2016 2:07am


Tom Estevillo

Fri, 11/18/2016 12:51am

He is indeed the pride of MIT.

But most of the islanders believe he is a fraudulent governor; a political puppet of Wall Street. He won with only 41% percent of the vote.

Ruben Colondres

Thu, 11/17/2016 7:26pm

Governor of Puerto Rico Luis A Ferre, 1968@1972, was a very distinguished student at MIT. He obtained an engineering degree from that institution. Was also a pro statehood politician.

K R.

Fri, 10/20/2017 3:38pm

I saw your speech yesterday with Donny Drumph. You are a SELL OUT.
You kissed donnys ass, for what?
You are a discrase to Puerto Rico . You make me sick you punk ass ass kisser.
You kissed the ass of a man/child who has No Reguard for you or anyone who is Not Rich.
You should be soooo ashamed at your ass kissing session with the orange faced liar. You fool.

Vivian Patron

Fri, 06/09/2017 1:41am

I'm a mainland Puerto Rican but love the island. I am sure that Mr. Ricardo Rossello is the honorable man that many have stated. My wish is that while he supports Statehood that he truly think about those lower middle class and poorer residents that may have their homes and land but would not be able to afford the property tax system of the U.S. I don't know if it's possible to renegotiate the terms of Commonwealth status to ensure that the island is able to have a better equitable share of monies made from export of products, etc. Make improvements to the terms that would benefit the Island and the people of Puerto Rico. I hope that he is open to looking at other options beyond Statehood. Although Puerto Ricans will vote the preference of Statehood, it would require the support of the U.S. Congress which is not likely under the new Administration. Rossello will need a back-up plan to try and help his people. I'm sure that Commonwealth status could be reviewed and possibly revisited for improvement and renegotiation on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico. Hopefully he'll use his MIT knowledge to find solutions to the dire situation of the Island. I wish him all the best but please have an open mind to the diversity of the Puerto Rican people's lifestyles and believes. Todo lo mejor para mi gente!!!

Javier Ramos

Wed, 07/17/2019 6:30pm

A private chat between Ricardo Rossello, members of his cabinet, friends, and lobbyists was made public a few days ago. In it, Rossello made:

(1) homophobic remarks against other public figures (e.g. Ricky Martin)
(2) derogatory statements regarding class and gender (e.g. made fun of a poor, rural community in PR)
(3) death threats against other politicians (the Mayor of San Juan)
(4) jokes about the disposition of the bodies of victims of Hurricane Maria (e.g. "feed them to the crows")
(5) leaked confidential information regarding the PR government's legal strategy with bondholders

Among many other reproachable statements.

Please remove this profile as Ricardo Rossello does not represent the values of the Institute and its people.

Javier Ramos (BS '12 and MS '14)