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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 followed by more than 53 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, and California (Berkeley). I also spent a long stint in the US Army Corps of Engineers as an Airborne Ranger Officer.

MIT has been a wonderful place for me to participate in leading the revolutionary changes in the practice of engineering, embodied in the concept of Systems Engineering, and enabled by the development of computers and their enormous analytic capacity. The field continues to be a liberating experience as we break away from traditional limitations. A statue in my MIT office symbolizes the idea: “Thought breaking its chains.” MIT embodies a tradition of enabling faculty 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 MIT, I try to lead a vigorous life. I row regularly and participate in the annual Head of the Charles Regatta. Once a year for the last 40 years I disappear into the American wilderness for a week with my climbing buddy.

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.