MIT Dean Resigns

This article is more than 13 years old.

MIT's Dean of Admissions has resigned after she admitted she made up her own academic credentials. Marilee Jones spent 28 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the last eight as a dean.

She made a name for herself in higher education by leading a national effort to make the college admissions process less high pressure. WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov reports.


MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: Marilee Jones often said that as dean of admissions at MIT she could always tell when an applicant was lying. In 2003 she talked about that on WBUR's On Point.

MARILEE JONES: Its experience you see people and you just get a sense that this is an essay that was not written by this kid.

BRADY-MYEROV: But for almost 3 decades, MIT had no idea Jones was the one who fabricated her resume. She claimed to have a bachelors and masters degree in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rensselaer says she was a part time student for one year but never graduated. Two other schools that Jones claimed to graduate from have no record her attending. It's unclear if she even has a college degree. MIT refused to comment on tape for this stroy. The chancellor of MIT told the New York Times it's a sad situation for the school and her and that MIT will be taking a big lesson from this experience.

Jones joined the admissions office in 1979 and was made dean 18 years later. In a press release about her promotion in 1997, MIT said it conducted a thorough national search which netted 65 highly qualified applicants. The school selected Jones because of her deep knowledge of the admissions process and vision.

LLOYD THACKER: I hope that what happened here doesn't discredit the value of her work and her unwavering commitment to helping students.

BRADY-MYEROV: Lloyd Thacker of the Education Conservancy a group trying to improve the admissions process says Jones was instrumental in leading a national dialogue about making admissions less stressful.

THACKER: Marilee worked tirelessly on behalf of a very important cause, understanding and addressing the effects of the current college admission process or system on the health and well being of student and she's definitely had a positive impact on the lives of many students and families.

BRADY-MYEROV: Jones often blamed boomer parents for putting too much pressure on their kids to succeed and leading them to pad their college applications. She told On Point host Tom Ashbrook about it in 2003.

JONES: I feel very strongly about this topic because here's where boomer parents are doing damage. We're doing damage to our kids because we really do see our kids as an extension of us. We really do want them to succeed as we've succeed in our lives we have created our own lives. And we've done that under our own steam. Well these kids are 16 years old and we want them to be perfect like we are as fully grown people at 50. Perfect like we are. I don't know about that well perfect like me (laughter).

BRADY-MYEROV: In a written statement issues thru MIT Jones said she misrepresented her credentials when she first came to MIT and didn't have the courage to correct her resume. She said she was deeply sorry. Reportedly the issue came up when MIT received a phone call from someone questioning her credentials.

For WBUR I'm Monica Brady-Myerov.

This program aired on April 27, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.