MIT Green bldg

Why the MIT Green building is not an EE building

Jon Claerbout reformats in 2017

Cecil Green [SB, SM in EE at MIT] began his career in a geophysical services company (GSI), building and operating petroleum exploration seismographs. At the end of WW II his engineers moved rapidly into transistors and founded Texas Instruments enabling him, in his advanced years, to become a world-class philanthropist.

Jon Claerbout (MIT 1956-67, Stanford 1967-2017+) writes 12/September/2008 to Richard Carl Levine (MIT-EE '61).

One day Cecil and Ida Green came to MIT from Texas.   After the chairman of the electrical engineering department brushed them off, they went to visit the chairman of Geology.   Subsequently, Earth Science got an 18 story building -- the tallest building at MIT today.   The Greens also gave a Green College to Oxford University, another Green College at Vancouver University, a Green Library and a Green Earth Science research building here at Stanford, and many other university buildings and hospital buildings around the world expecially Texas.   Cecil Green, a friend of mine, died in California at age 102 in 2003.

Sven Treitel (MIT BS '53, MS '55, PhD '58) writes Sept 2, 2017

Hello Jon, I am aware of this story, which I heard, I believe, from Ted Madden [MIT professor, PhD 1961, deceased 2013].   Alas, I don't have any more detail that I could add.   Cheers, Sven

Tom Cantwell was an assistant professor in the MIT Geophysics Department in the 1960s. He writes on Sep 12, 2008:

Jon,   Your story is true.   Gordon Brown was head of the EE dept, and Bob Shrock was head of the Earth Science dept.   Cecil Green was impressed with Shrock's story and gave the building to Earth Science.   Hope this is what you asked about.   Tom Cantwell

Richard Carl Levine (MIT EE BS 1961, SCD 1963) writes 9/14/08

Jon, I am not sure that I understand all the details of the situation, but I can confirm some of the points:   Gordon Brown was EE department head and (I believe) later Dean of Engineering in the late 1950s.   Robert Shrock was head of the Geology dept.   I took an introductory meteorology course in my first semester and met numerous geology people since their offices were in the same halls, and they affectionately called him "Rock" Shrock.   Regards, Richard Levine

Today (2017)

Looking at MIT from the air today with Google Maps, we cannot help but notice that the Green building was allotted a tiny rectangle of MIT's precious square footage.   Perhaps that's why Cecil decided to build it so tall!   He also endowed several professorships in the MIT Physics Department.   He and Ida also donated a womens' dorm at MIT.  

Cecil quotes remembered (by Jon Claerbout)

"When geophysics and electrical engineering work together, great things can happen."

"There is no feeling so good as that which comes from genuine accomplishment."

"The best feeling in life is that which comes from genuine accomplishment."   Sorry, but I don't remember exactly how he said it.