L. Rafael Reif

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Leo Rafael Reif Groisman
L. Rafael Reif
L. Rafael Reif
17th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Assumed office
Preceded by Susan Hockfield
Personal details
Born Leo Rafael Reif Groisman
(1950-08-21) August 21, 1950 (age 70)
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Spouse(s) Christine Chomiuk
Children Jessica and Blake
Education Universidad de Carabobo (B.S.)
Stanford University (PhD)

Leo Rafael Reif (born August 21, 1950) is a Venezuelan-born American electrical engineer, writer and academic administrator. He is the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, succeeding Susan Hockfield on July 2, 2012.[1][2] Reif previously served as the Institute's provost, as the head of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and as the director of the MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories.[3]


Leo Rafael Reif was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, to Eastern European Jewish parents, who immigrated to Venezuela in the 1930s through Ecuador and Colombia. His father was a photographer, and the family spoke Yiddish and Spanish at home.[4]


Reif received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the Universidad de Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela in 1973. He then served for a year as an assistant professor at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. He went to the United States for graduate school, earning his doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1979. He then spent a year as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford.

Research, teaching and administration

Reif joined the MIT faculty in January 1980 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. He was promoted to associate professor in 1983, earned tenure in 1985, and became a full professor in 1988. In 2004 he was named the Fariborz Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technology. In 2012, Reif was elected the president of MIT.

Before his appointment as Provost in 2005, his research centered on three-dimensional integrated circuit technologies and on environmentally benign microelectronics fabrication.

Reif was director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories, then associate department head for Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), MIT's largest academic department, and then served as EECS department head in 2004-2005.

An early champion of MIT's engagement in micro- and nanotechnologies, Dr. Reif is the inventor or co-inventor on 15 patents, has edited or co-edited five books and has supervised 38 doctoral theses.

Reif was named co-chair of the administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee “2.0,” part of a continuing effort to maintain U.S. leadership in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance America’s global competitiveness, on September 26, 2013.[5][6]

Honors and awards

Reif is a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[7] and is a member of Tau Beta Pi and the Electrochemical Society. The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) awarded him the 2000 Aristotle Award for “his commitment to the educational experience of SRC students and the profound and continuing impact he has had on their professional careers.” For his work in developing MITx, MIT's initiative in developing free online college courses available to learners anywhere with an Internet connection, which was launched in December 2011, he received the 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. In October 2015, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation honored him with the Frank E. Taplin, Jr. Public Intellectual Award.[8]

Corporate Affiliations

Since 2007, Reif has served on the Board of Directors of Schlumberger [9] where he serves on the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. [10] with an annual compensation of approximately $228,000. [11]

In March of 2015, Reif was elected to the Board of Directors of Alcoa.[12]

Personal life

Reif and his wife, Christine (Chomiuk),[13] lived in Newton, Massachusetts prior to his appointment as MIT's 17th president, and for his first seven months; he now lives in the MIT Presidential residence, Gray House. They have a daughter, Jessica, and a son, Blake.


  1. Bradt, Steve (May 16, 2012). "L. Rafael Reif selected as MIT's 17th president". MIT News Office.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Krasny, Ros (May 17, 2012). "Venezuelan-born academic named president of MIT". Reuters.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Rafael Reif biography on MIT website".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "L. Rafael Reif selected as MIT's 17th president". MIT News Office. May 16, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Rocheleau, Matt (September 27, 2013). "MIT President Reif picked by Obama to co-chair committee trying to boost US manufacturing". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "President Obama Launches Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee "2.0"". The White House. Retrieved 2015-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. https://www.amacad.org/multimedia/pdfs/alphalist.pdf
  8. "Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation | Woodrow Wilson Foundation Honors". woodrow.org. Retrieved 2016-01-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Schlumberger. "Board of Directors".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>,
  10. Schlumberger Limited. "2014 Annual Report".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, p. 106, also available as an image.
  11. Saul R. Laureles, Attorney-in-Fact. "SEC Form 4 for 04/30/2014".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> for 2250 shares, valued at $101.55 per Google Finance. "Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Alcoa. "Alcoa Elects L. Rafael Reif to Board of Directors".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Biega Funeral Home: Obituaries". www.biegafuneralhome.com. Retrieved 2015-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links