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Biologist Sharp Rejects Job as MIT President


Days after he was nominated to be the next president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Phillip A. Sharp announced yesterday he does not want the job, citing his commitment to scientific research and teaching.

"As I anticipated dissolving my research program and teaching duties, I came reluctantly to the realization that I could not fill that void in my life with anything else," said Sharp, the MacArthur professor of biology, who directs the MIT Center for Cancer Research.

Sharp was nominated by the executive committee of the MIT Corporation Wednesday, after over 200 candidates had been considered for the position, a spokesperson said.

"The committee has accepted this decision with great regret," said Paul E. Gray, the current president. Gray, who is leaving to chair the MIT corporation, said the panel was disappointed with Sharp's withdrawal, but was pleased the professor was remaining at MIT.

Sharp had undergone several interviews during the committee's search to replace Gray, who is leaving after 10 years at the university's helm, a spokesperson said.

"I know that the presidency of MIT is an office of extraordinary importance, challenge and opportunity--but in the end, I discovered that it is not me," Sharp said, in a statement released yesterday.

"I apologize for my indecisiveness and for not more fully understanding this personal need," he said. His secretary said he would not elaborate on the statement.

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