IOP First in White House

Harvard surpasses MIT by wide margin, bringing 43 officials to campus

Harvard brought more White House officials to its campus than any other university from 1998 to mid-2004, according to an analysis conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The University sponsored 43 trips, costing $35,137, over that period, the publication reported.

The Institute of Politics (IOP) plays a particularly important role in bringing high-profile political figures to campus, said Catherine McLaughlin, the executive director of the IOP.

Most universities do not have an institution equivalent to the IOP, and this contributes to the smaller number of political figures who visit their campuses, according to McLaughlin.

But other universities are beginning to establish similar organizations, she added.

“Several institutes are modeling what they do after what we do,” McLaughlin said.

The IOP pays for travel and hotel expenses for visiting officials but does not pay them to speak, according to McLaughlin.

“We don’t do any lobbying,” she said.

“Our only goal in bringing these officials is to get them to interact with students,” said IOP Director of Communications Esten Perez.

Student interest determines which individuals the IOP will bring to the University to speak, McLaughlin said.

“Most of the people we have are very timely, very relevant,” said Christopher L. Corcoran ’07, IOP Student Advisory Committee president.

IOP Fellows are also important in drawing White House officials to the University, since the Fellows are able to utilize their own networks and invite important figures to attend their study groups, McLaughlin said.

MIT ranks second on the list of universities that most frequently sponsor visits by White House officials, financing 11 trips between 1998 and mid-2004.