Institution-building at PBHA

"It's the first-ever reunion of Phillips Brooks House Association volunteers," says Francis H. Duehay '55, Ed.D. '68, speaking of a get-together planned for November 10 and 11 in Cambridge. Formed in 1904, and a student organization that today includes 73 programs through which 1,800 undergraduates do volunteer work in Cambridge and Boston, the association has very many veterans. This gathering celebrates their common bond and affords an opportunity to help stabilize PBHA--and their relationship to it--by a general opening of purses in support of a capital campaign to be officially launched on the occasion.

Lee Smith in 1982, after 25 years on the job

Lee Smith in 1982, after 25 years on the job

Photograph by Jane Reed

The reunion begins with dinner and a keynote address. Panel discussions the next day, opened by President Neil L. Rudenstine and participated in by president emeritus and Three Hundredth Anniversary University Professor Derek Bok, take up such matters as "public service in the new economy" and "the role of service in public education," as well as an infrastructure session devoted to "forming a PBHA alumni association."

Duehay is cochair of the $7.2 million campaign with Nancy Rahnasto Osborne '76. "We're trying to endow the salaries of the director and executive director, to fund the sort of training of student program leaders that new government regulations require, and to have seed money for innovative programs," says Duehay. "The time has come to provide stability beyond the year-to-year funding that PBHA always has had."

When Duehay was an undergraduate, he served through PBHA as "a tutor in what was then called a settlement house and in prisons." Now retired, he sat for 28 years on the Cambridge city council, serving three terms as mayor. He is giving time to the campaign, he says, because PBHA benefits not just students, but also Boston and Cambridge.

The reunion concludes with a reception honoring Lee Smith, who has just retired after more than 40 years at PBHA. Her title officially--and wholly inadequately, in the opinion of students who have known her over the years--was administrative assistant. Since joining the organization in 1957, she has been in her seasons big sister, mother, and grandmother to a multitude of Harvardians.

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