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About Richard

Born in New York, I grew up in international schools when my family moved to Europe after World War II. The experience endowed me with a wide cultural and linguistic experience which prepared me well for active international activities as MIT has developed as a global university.

Returning home to the US, I became an MIT “lifer”. My three earned degrees were in Engineering at MIT have now been followed by more than 55 years on the faculty. However, these years were not confined to Cambridge MA. Along the way I spent various years working in Washington for the White House, on sabbaticals in England (Oxford, Cambridge, London Graduate School of Business), France (Ecole Centrale, Ecole des Ponts et Chausées), Portugal (Instituto Superior Técnico), Japan (National Institute for Science and Technology Policy), Singapore (Singapore University of Technology and Design), and California (U C Berkeley). I also served on active duty in the US Army Corps of Engineers as an Airborne Ranger Officer.

MIT continues to be a wonderful place for me to participate in leading the revolutionary changes in the practice of engineering, embodied in the concept of Systems Engineering, as enabled by the development of computers and their enormous analytic capacity. The field is a liberating experience as we break away from traditional limitations. A sculpture in my MIT office symbolizes the idea: “Thought breaking its chains.” MIT embodies a tradition of enabling us to be innovative, to take professional risks, and to rethink how we can collectively go about creating a better world.

Richard de Neufville standing at the water's edge at Paradise LakeOutside of work, I lead a vigorous life. I row a single scull and hike.  Each year I participate in the Head of the Charles Regatta, and  disappear into some wilderness for a week with my climbing buddy. I’ve also enjoyed long road trips: Boston to Panama, Khartoum to Dakar, Anchorage to Boston.

I live in Harvard Square with my wife, whom I met at MIT. Our daughter and her family keep us going to Texas to visit. My son enjoys his life in Hawaii.