Marcus A. Thompson, Institute Professor

Marcus A. Thompson viola
Photo: Bryce Vickmark/MIT News Office

Marcus A. Thompson, Institute Professor

In 2015, Bronx native Marcus Aurelius Thompson became the first black professor to earn MIT’s highest faculty honor: Institute Professor. He joins a small group of Institute Professors at MIT, now numbering 13, along with 10 Institute Professors Emeriti. Thompson is one of three faculty members to be named Institute Professors since 2008.

Trained at Julliard, Thompson is an internationally acclaimed violist and chamber music player. His arrival to MIT as an assistant professor of music in 1973 was later followed by his inaugural appointment in 1995 as the Robert R. Taylor Professor of Music (a professorship named after MIT's first black graduate, Robert R. Taylor, Class of 1892), as well as being named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow for exceptional teaching. After over four decades, Thompson continues to be an influential presence at the Institute. 

Over his long career, Marcus has worked to give students access to a world-class music program that has changed MIT.

Steven Hall, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and MIT Faculty Chair

Timeline: 2010s
School: School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Department: Music and Theater Arts
Career: Arts & HumanitiesEducation
Object: Image
Collection: Faculty, Marcus A. Thompson, Music, Rising Voices 1995-Present, Robert R. Taylor