Exciting move for ICEO John Dozier

April 20, 2023
Sally Kornbluth, President | Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

Dear members of the MIT community,

We write to convey the bittersweet news that John Dozier will step down as Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO) on June 30 to become president of Columbia College, a private liberal arts college in Columbia, South Carolina. Before his time at MIT, John served as president of Kennedy-King College in Chicago. He will now take on a presidential role again, this time at the college his mother attended in the city that has been his family’s hometown for generations. Although we’re very sorry John will be leaving us, we greatly appreciate his important work on behalf of MIT, and we celebrate with him this extraordinary new personal opportunity.

John’s record of accomplishment

John’s first day at MIT was March 15, 2020, just as the pandemic scattered the community he had arrived to serve. It’s a mark of John’s exceptional qualities as a person and a leader – his warmth, kindness, curiosity, sense of humor and emotional insight – that he quickly built close working relationships across the Institute, almost entirely over Zoom. Countless people in every role across the Institute will miss his wisdom and his friendship.

With his astute judgment and grace under pressure, John has helped our community navigate intense challenges, including the pandemic and a national reckoning on race, and he has been an invaluable advisor to senior leaders in handling crises and building community trust. He was the primary architect and driver of the Institute-wide consultations that shaped the Strategic Action Plan on Belonging, Achievement, and Composition, and he served as a voice for the community and liaison to the administration for many key committees, initiatives and working groups, including the MIT Values Statement Committee, the Indigenous Working Group, the Racism Research Fund, the Gender Identity Initiative, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Arts, Culture, and DEI.

John also expanded the MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program, helped lead the hiring of assistant deans focused on inclusion in each school and the college, and fostered a sense of teamwork and professionalism in the Institute Community and Equity Office and related groups across MIT. Recently, as our community turned to important questions around freedom of expression, John launched Dialogues Across Difference, a new speaker series designed to demonstrate practical ways to take on difficult subjects across differences of opinion, background, viewpoint and life experience.

Next steps

The best way to honor John’s contributions to our community is to build on the momentum he’s helped generate. We will immediately begin a national search, informed by input from the community. For now, if you have ideas or insights about the role or candidates to propose, you may submit them to us confidentially at iceo-search@mit.edu.

Because a search at this level can take time, as soon as possible we will name an interim ICEO to serve upon John’s departure.

We hope you will join us in expressing our warmest gratitude to John for his service and in sending him every good wish as he returns home to South Carolina.


Sally Kornbluth

Cynthia Barnhart