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The Ingrams (1985-2001)

Vernon and Beth Ingram, Ashdown House's 6th Housemasters
Vernon and Beth Ingram,
Ashdown's 6th Housemasters

Vernon and Beth Ingram served as housemasters of Ashdown from 1985 to 2001. The music room is named in their honor.

A member of the faculty for 48 years, Vernon Martin Ingram (1924 - 2006) was the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Biology at MIT. He is best known for his discovery that sickle cell anemia is caused by a single amino acid change in hemoglobin, for which he has been hailed as the “father of molecular medicine”. In recognition of his scientiQic achievements, he was elected to The National Academy of Sciences, USA, The Royal Society, London, and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Vernon and his wife, Elizabeth (b. 1940), were chosen as housemasters in 1985 when Robert and Carol Hulsizer retired. Noted for their wisdom and great sense of humor, the Ingrams carried on the House traditions and introduced some of their own. For example, they started the annual Thanksgiving Dinner. The monthly Sunday brunches also began in the Ingram’s apartment and often showcased residents’ musical abilities on the piano or other instruments. Vernon himself was a gifted pianist, and, together with Beth, established the annual Ashdown Beth and Vernon Ingram Concert, which is named in their honor and is still funded by a generous bequest left by them.

Known for their extremely popular get-togethers, Vernon’s compassionate nature and Beth’s southern charm appealed to the diverse Ashdown community. They hosted art shows in their apartment and encouraged residents to create original works to be displayed in the common spaces of the House. Being a highly talented photographer, Vernon donated several of his works to Ashdown House, some of which currently hang in the Ingram Music Room.

After sixteen years of service to Ashdown, the Ingrams retired as housemasters in 2001. In recognition of their many contributions, the West Dining Room in W1 was named after them. When the Ashdown community moved from W1 to NW35 in 2008, the music room in the new building was named in their honor. A former student, Thomas Burbine Ph.D. '00, also petitioned successfully to have an asteroid named after them. Discovered in 1981, the asteroid is officially known as 6285 Ingram.

The above information contains information gathered from personal interviews, MIT Tech articles and MIT webpages.

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