Toni P. Robinson

Ombudsperson, Ombuds Office

(presented by President L. Rafael Reif)

The 2015 Collier Medal recognizes a member of our community who demonstrates a commitment every day to those same virtues. Her name is Toni Robinson and she is an MIT Ombudsperson. Toni has built countless individual and collective bridges across the MIT community.  And she performs small acts of kindness every day -- quietly, consistently, and often anonymously. In fact, since the Ombuds Office exists in a Cone of Silence, she is an “unsung hero” by definition.

One of her colleagues wrote, “Toni listens with unflagging compassion to students, administrators, support staff and faculty who come to her…often with heavy hearts and complex problems. And she helps them work toward resolution.”

Another wrote, “Toni belongs to the entire Institute. She crosses the campus, drives out to Lincoln Laboratory, visits the dorms and walks through the tunnels, building relationships all over MIT. You might even catch her inviting lonely-looking students to her office for Girl Scout cookies.”

Toni has worked tirelessly to support all members of our campus: those with disabilities or with acute family concerns…veterans…members of the LBGTQ community… as well as international students and staff.

Just as officer Collier’s model of citizenship transcended his work, Toni’s care for community goes far beyond the requirements of her job.

We are lucky that it is warm today because, as one nominator wrote, “Toni will gently nudge an ill-clad student or staff member to look for a coat or hat if the weather has gotten cold.”

Finally, we present the Collier Medal to Toni because she develops in each member of the community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Next month, MIT will unveil a memorial honoring Officer Collier and his sacrifice to our campus. The granite structure will create a permanent symbol of Officer Collier’s sacrifice and commitment to his community. The physical award we present to Toni today is carved from that same stone… as Toni Robinson and Sean Collier were cut from the same cloth.

Congratulations to Toni P. Robinson - the 2015 recipient of the Collier Medal!