The Corporation — the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — holds a public trust: to see that the Institute adheres to the purposes for which it was chartered and that its integrity and financial resources are preserved for future generations as well as for current purposes. The Corporation and its committees have responsibility for reviewing and providing guidance on strategic directions, approving annual budgets, exercising long-term fiduciary responsibility, approving the establishment of new degree programs or courses of study, approving degrees, electing the President (as well as the other Corporation officers), and being available (individually as well as collectively) to advise the President on issues that he/she may wish to raise with them.
It is also understood that trustees are expected to represent the interests of MIT to outside constituencies as appropriate and help provide financial support for the Institute.
The members of the Corporation include distinguished leaders in science, engineering, industry, education and public service.
While the Corporation as a whole meets four times per year (the first Friday of October, December, March and on the day of graduation at the end of the academic year or, if the Chair of the Corporation shall so determine, on the day prior thereto), most of the work of the Corporation is conducted through its various committees.
These include the Executive Committee, Investment Committee (Investment Company Management Board,) Risk and Audit Committee, Governance and Nominations Committee, CJAC, and visiting committees for each academic department as well as certain other functions, such as student affairs, libraries, research, and athletics. In addition to their service on various standing committees, each Corporation member serves on at least two visiting committees.
MIT's charter is comprised of the various Acts and Resolves of the General Court of Massachusetts pertaining to the Institute from its act of incorporation in 1861. The Institute is subject to Massachusetts' statutory provisions governing corporations organized for charitable purposes, which now provide for amendments to the articles of organization by vote of the Corporation. The Corporation is governed by its Bylaws, which were last amended as of December 7, 2012.
"A Brief History and Workings of the Corporation" by Chairman Dana G. Mead was published in the May/June 2006 issue of the MIT Faculty Newsletter.