We're on the homestretch of 2016, and boy, does it feel grand. The past year hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies. But now is a time of reflection, to remember the good and the bad. And we're here to help you with that.
We've rounded up the most noteworthy news stories pertaining to our city's campuses over the last 365 days. From a scandalous Harvard soccer team suspension to a student in trouble for renting his dorm room on Airbnb, 2016 was definitely one for the books.
Here are the hottest headlines from the past year on Boston's college campuses - listed from most recent to most distant.
In November, Harvard canceled the men’s soccer team’s season, after an Office of General Counsel review found that team members had continued to produce vulgar “scouting report[s]” in which they rated women based on their sex appeal and physical appearance. The incident echoed the founding story of Facebook. The site originated in 2003 when Mark Zuckerberg, then a student at Harvard, developed the precursor to Facebook, called Facemash. The site let people compare pictures of Harvard students side-by-side, asking them to choose who was “hot” and who was “not.”
There's now a website meant to call out professors reportedly pushing "a radical agenda in lecture halls." The Professor Watchlist went live in December. It's a project managed by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit with a "mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government." Among the professors on the Watchlist are five academics from institutions of higher education in Massachusetts.
Ever wonder how your college loans compare to the rest of the country? The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) released their annual report on student debt, specifically highlighting how it's impacting 2015 graduates. And HowMuch.net, a website providing cost guides, put together a map reflecting these findings, so you can visualize the varying burden of student debt throughout the country.
MIT President Rafael Reif announced at the end of October that the Institute will launch The Engine, a new accelerator program with a planned $150 million venture fund to support startups innovating in the science and technology spaces, providing them with funding, space and a network of expertise.
Jeff Bussgang, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, announced in October he will be managing a new fund in Boston called The Graduate Syndicate. The fund totals $2.5 million dollars, and the capital will be used in $100,000 increments to invest in seed and pre-seed ventures founded by recent Harvard graduates.
FutureFuel, a Boston-based startup looking to make student loan payments an employee benefit norm, launched its online hiring marketplace back in October. It's teaming up with companies, allowing them to differentiate themselves from other employers by offering five to 10 percent compensation in the form of student loan payments, each year for three years. That’s on top of already competitive salaries and benefit packages.
ITT Technical Institute suddenly shut its doors in September, leaving about 40,000 students and more than 8,000 employees in the lurch. The Department of Education had placed strict financial requirements on the for-profit school to meet, in light of lawsuits filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who claimed ITT Tech deceived students about its programs.
SmartAsset, a New York tech company focused on personal finance, published its Best Value College study, where it ranked Massachusetts colleges based on multiple financial factors. Among the factors considered were starting salaries, and that’s where its findings became worth noting. MIT landed in the top starting salary spot. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) came in second place, while Harvard took third.
Leave it to MIT and Lincoln Laboratory to hold the first-ever grand prix for miniature autonomous cars. The school's Beaver Works Summer Institute, which offers STEM-heavy summer camp activities for rising high school seniors, had participants team up and program their own self-driving, mini race cars. We grabbed footage.
You probably heard that Forbes held its Under 30 Summit in Boston this year. The event brought 5,000 attendees out and honored 600 young entrepreneurs innovating in a slew of sectors, spanning from arts and style to enterprise tech. And a chunk of those youthful innovators were Bostonians.
Babson President Kerry Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced in June that the school would be launching the first global entrepreneur-in-residence (GEIR) program to be offered by a private university. The program, which kicked off in the fall, helps a selected number of international entrepreneurs graduating from institutions throughout the region remain in the U.S. to work on their viable ventures.
MIT students can seem like part of a superhuman subcategory based on their braininess alone. The competitive, technological nature of the Institute also fuels stereotypes of a group of students that forgoes sleep and food in favor of studying and innovating. So when MIT releases a wealth of data about undergraduates and their daily habits, we ate it up. Turns out, MIT students do differ from your average college kids - but not in every way.
On the night of June 2, HBS Professor Anita Elberse tweeted out a picture showing off four famed pupils taking her Executive Education course on Business of Media, Entertainment and Sports. And those stars were actor Channing Tatum, rapper James Todd Smith (whom you probably know as LL Cool J), Chicago Bulls’ Pau Gasol and Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul.
MIT held the finale to its annual $100K Launch Competition on May 12, and eight carefully selected startups pitched for a shot at, you guessed it, $100,000. Astraeus Technologies, a medtech venture, was named the ultimate winner. Their invention, the L-card, can accurately detect certain chemicals indicative of lung cancer from a patient’s breath. It’s inexpensive and easily administered, especially compared to current screening methods, so more people can be screened and they can catch cancer earlier on.
A beloved course at Babson College called The Ultimate Entrepreneurship Challenge has been put to an end and its instructor, adjunct professor Len Green, has been terminated. According to a petition on Change.org, students and alumni alike came together in the hopes of overturning the Babson administration’s decision.
The biggest names in engineering - MIT, Boeing and NASA - teamed up to develop the ultimate systems engineering program, and it’s all online. They worked together to come up with a curriculum for a 4-class certificate program called “Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems.”
Emerson came down on Jack Worth, a student there, for renting out his dorm room on Airbnb in January. He faced the possibility of dismissal, and his peers came to his defense with a petition called “Free Jack Worth.”
A couple of years ago, Elon Musk threw out the idea of Hyperloop, the super high-speed train that could solve all of our transportation woes. He and his company SpaceX launched the official Hyperloop Pod Competition. We got the details on the design that MIT's team submitted for the competition.
More BostInno Stories:
- Massachusetts Is Once Again the Most Innovative State in America
- Six Entrepreneurs, One Question: “What Inspires You?”
- CoachUp Co-Founder Joins DraftKings Rival as Joint CEO