McCormick Housemasters

 Prof. Charles Stewart III, Kathryn Hess, Cameron StewartMcCormick’s Housemasters are Prof. Charles Stewart III and his spouse, Kathryn M. Hess. (A list of past housemasters is included in our history page.)  Housemasters are members of the MIT community, usually faculty, and their spouses.  They are appointed by the President of MIT upon the recommendation of the Dean for Student Life. Housemasters are broadly responsible for providing leadership within the Houses so that residential life will reinforce the Institute’s educational mission. The Housemasters in all residences work with a wide variety of individuals, including students, Graduate Resident Tutors, Area Directors, Housemanagers, and the staffs of various Institute offices and departments.

The McCormick Housemasters live on the 2nd floor of the west tower. Phone number: 5-8106. Don’t be shy about dropping by. Remember to knock loudly on the door!!

Prof. Charles Stewart III

Charles Stewart at restIt’s hard to believe that I’m starting my eighteenth year as housemaster. Of all the things I’ve done at MIT, being housemaster here has been the most enjoyable, and I look forward to another year of meeting new people, talking to folks as the year progresses, sharing my love of wine during IAP, and making more pizza dough than I ever care to think about.

A little about me: I’ve been at MIT for 26 years now. I’ve come up through the ranks of Course XVII (Political Science), from lowly assistant professor to Full Professor, to head of the department. I just stepped down from that office, and now I’m spending the year on leave from teaching.

I founded and run MIT’s Washington Summer Internship Program. I’m a political historian with a twist—I mostly apply modern economic theories and statistical methods to questions that involve the early history of American political institutions. I’ve also been participating in the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, our effort to make technology safe for democracy. Even though I’m neither a scientist or engineer, I’ve also had my hand in helping to make an alarming number of decisions at MIT, so I’d be happy to talk with you any time if you’re interested in learning more about how this place works.

Over the next year, while I’m on teaching leave, I will be spending a lot of my time working with the Pew Charitable Trusts, with some projects at their Election Initiative, an important program that’s trying to make elections better in the United States. I’m also writing a second edition of my textbook about congressional politics (Analyzing Congress), taking part as a co-author of three other books about congressional history and/or election reform, and doing some brief trips to work with collaborators. However, McCormick is my home, and I hope to have more time just to hang out and spend talking with McCormick residents, now that I don’t have to worry about running Course XVII.

I got my undergraduate degree in political science from Emory University, spent a year in the M.Div. program at the Yale Divinity School, and then got my PhD in political science at Stanford. Stanford’s also where I met Kathy. Finally, in my copious free time, I like to cook, garden, collect wine, fine tune my saltwater aquarium, occupy the Z-Center, follow the Red Sox, do Pilates, and hang out with Cameron. Check out my web page if you want to know more about my interests.

Kathryn M. Hess 

Twenty years ago I discovered a secret to staying young: live with about 250 undergraduate MIT women who have boundless energy and curiosity. My colleagues think I’m crazy. But I love being a housemaster. And McCormick is our home.

During weekdays I’m off campus; I work for the Inspector General of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluating the effectiveness of EPA’s programs. Before that I worked 21 years as a water scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

My path to water studies started with an interest in the environment in elementary school, a BS in geology and an MS in engineering geology from Stanford, and further graduate work in civil and environmental engineering (ABD) here at MIT.

Three years as a graduate student, twenty years as a housemaster, and nearly thirty years as a faculty spouse equip me with interesting perspectives on this place. Pizza dinners and group trips to the Fenway Park and traveling Broadway shows are all ways that Charles and I try to take the edge off the MIT grind and help to make McCormick a great place to live.

In my quest to stay young and healthy I try to exercise daily. I bike to work. I’m often on the cardio machines and lifting weights at the Z-Center. But mostly I exercise so that I can cook and eat what I cook.  I also love to sing and have recently started voice lessons.

Cameron StewartCameron and Charles at restaurant

Kathy and Charles have a son, Cameron, who grew up in McCormick.  He is now in Florida having his own college experience.  Cam is a first year student at University of Tampa studying management.  This past summer he was a counsellor at the MIT Day Camp and enjoyed playing basketball, taking diving lessons, and swimming at the Z-Center.  On the weekends he played baseball.  Cam is also a great pianist and likes to sing.