Ernest Cohen during a reunion of early Black alums, 1973
On going to MIT
I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina in the late 1950’s, the child of two teachers, a mother who taught in Middle School and a father who taught classes in Masonry. Though some would call our surroundings as humble, I was surrounded by books, ideas, aspirations and opportunities to build things.
I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer and was tracking to MIT early. I was my high school valedictorian. When I took the PSAT's and then later the SAT's, I did very well.
I arrived at MIT in September 1960. At the time, there were 3 Blacks in my class, and only 12 Blacks in MIT’s undergraduate school of about 3600 students. I studied in the stacks at Hayden library, which were as quiet as a tomb. This helped me get on Dean’s list by end of second term. Though my very first computer course in the fall of 1960 was a disaster, I learned more than I realized.
--Ernest "Ernie" Cohen '64, BAMIT Newsletter (July 2014)