In a major embarrassment for the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), its dean of admissions resigned after three decades of service, admitting that she had fabricated her own educational credentials when she joined the institution.
Marilee Jones, dean of admissions, has resigned effective immediately, after it was confirmed that she had "misrepresented her academic degrees to the Institute," Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel E Hastings announced in an e-mail to the MIT community on Thursday.
"I misrepresented my academic degree when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for the current job or at any time since," Jones said.
She is considered a sort of guru for calming the nerves of stressed out students and advising them to stop trying to be perfect.
In her statement posted on the website of the MIT, 55-year old Jones says she is "deeply sorry and for disappointing so may at MIT and beyond who supported me, believed in me and who have given me extraordinary opportunities".
The New York Times quoted MIT officials as saying that Jones had on various occasions represented herself as having degrees from three New York institutions Albany Medical College, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She had no degree from any of those places or anywhere else, the paper said.
In an interview with the Times, Phillip L Clay, MIT's chancellor, said that a college degree was probably not required for Jones's entry-level job in the admissions office when she arrived in 1979. And by the time she was appointed admissions dean in 1997, Clay said, she had already been in the admissions office for many years, and apparently little effort was made to check what she had earlier presented as her credentials.
"In the future," he said, "we will take a big lesson from this experience."
Since the last fall, Jones had been making speeches around the country to promote her book, "Less stress, more success: a new approach to guiding your teen through college admissions and beyond," written with a pediatrician, Dr Kenneth R Ginsburg. The book had added to her reputation as a kind of guru of the movement to tame the college admissions frenzy, the Times said.