The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter. The opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America.
Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research - with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle - continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools encompass numerous academic departments, divisions, and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.
The soul of MIT is research. For more than 150 years, the Institute has married teaching with engineering and scientific studies - and produced an unending stream of advancements, many of them world-changing. Among MIT's historical achievements:
- Achieving the first chemical synthesis of penicillin
- Developing inertial guidance systems for the Apollo space program
- Pioneering high-speed photography
- Engineering practical microwave radar
- Building the magnetic core memory that made digital computers possible
- Developing the world's first biomedical prosthetic device
In the lab or in the field, MIT impacts all walks of life through the technology developed at the Institute and through the people who learn, work and train here. MIT's students, faculty and staff - supported by our alumni, donors and industry partners - are able to turn hands-on research into answers for the world's most pressing problems.