Mary O. Hope, ca. 1971
Mary Olivia Hope, MIT Assistant Dean of Student of Affairs, 1971-1983
Dean Hope arrived at MIT in the fall of 1972. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1922, her independent spirit was strengthened by the segregated society she grew up in. Her optimistic outlook and love for helping others was modeled and nurtured by parents who loved God and people. She graduated from Parker High School in Birmingham; attended Alabama State College as a pre-med student; and earned a Masters Degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University in New York during summers, while employed as Head of the Science Department at Fairfield High School in Alabama. After moving to New York City in 1948, she raised a family and worked as a special education teacher in public schools for many years before coming to MIT. During her eleven-year tenure at the Institute, she was known as a passionate and effective advocate for all students, but especially for minorities and women; a wise and caring counselor; and a warm and nurturing mother-figure. Always willing to reach out, to listen, and to extend herself to solve problems, her office became a welcome refuge for many. Notable among her endeavors at MIT were an annual Black Science Conference and the founding of Lambda Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first sorority on campus.
--Inez Hope Shaw '73, SM '75 and Warren E. Shaw '72, July 2021