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Bettering Government Gail Christopher Kris Snibbe/ Harvard News Office With a $50-million endowment grant--its largest ever--the Ford...

Bettering Government

Christopher
Gail Christopher
Kris Snibbe/ Harvard News Office
With a $50-million endowment grant--its largest ever--the Ford Foundation has underwritten a new Institute for Government Innovation at the Kennedy School. The largest donation in the school's history, the new fund and institute make permancent an alliance between the foundation and the school dating back to 1985, through which novel public programs and policies were honored annually and disseminated for widespread adoption. Dean Joseph S. Nye Jr. called the program a vitally needed "investment in public service." Gail Christopher, executive director of the awards program and the new institute, expects to extend the recognition of effective government practices globally, and to fund more research, fellowships, conferences, practitioner training, and publications.

 

Quincy Comeback

Kirshner
Robert P. Kirshner
Jon Chase/ Harvard News Office
You can go home again--and to better real estate. Robert P. Kirshner '70, who lived in Quincy House as an undergraduate, returns as master, succeeding Michael Shinagel. Kirshner, professor of astronomy, announced the appointment at a session of Science A-35, "Matter in the Universe," and immediately revealed plans to invite students to the deck of the master's residence for star gazing. Kirshner and his wife, Jayne Loader, who will be co-master, will be accompanied by their bull terrier, Albert--another prerogative of living in the House as an adult.

Presiding over Dunster

Bringing a broad perspective on governance to the mastership of Dunster House will be Roger B. Porter, Ph.D. '78, IBM professor of business and government at the Kennedy School. An economic and domestic policy adviser in the Ford, Reagan, and Bush I administrations, he was a professor at the Kennedy School from 1985 to 1989 and has published works on presidential policymaking, now the subject of his undergraduate course Government 1540, "The American Presidency." He and his wife, Ann Porter, who will be co-master, have also had the opportunity to hear about College life directly from children Stacy Ann Porter (Eliot House) and Robert Roger Porter (Adams House), both rising seniors. The parental Porters, accompanied by two younger children and their poodle, Colby, move to their new quarters this summer, succeeding Karel Liem, Bigelow professor of ichthyology, and Hetty Liem.

 

Ethics Endowment

The University's Center for Ethics and the Professions--created in 1986, and one of the original interfaculty initiatives--has secured permanent funding for its program of scholarly fellowships, lectures, seminars, and workshops (www.ethics.harvard.edu). A $12-million bequest from the estate of Lester Kissel, J.D. '31, an attorney in New York City and a student of Hindu philosophy who died in the spring of 2000 at the age of 98, will enable the center to sustain its academic work and to expand its engagement with applications in business, law, and other contexts beyond the classroom.

Admissions and Adventures

In a familiar refrain, Harvard College has become choosier than ever about undergraduate admissions. Of a record 19,009 applicants to the class of 2005, just 2,041 were offered letters of acceptance in April--10.7 percent of the hopefuls. The number of students electing to defer enrollment for a year rose to 43 from 25 a year earlier--perhaps an indication that the admissions staff's advocacy of diverse and maturing experiences before matriculating in college is having an effect (see "Harvard to Applicants: Chill!" March-April, page 68). Taking the deferrals into account, the "yield" of acceptances to offers of admission seemed likely to hold constant at nearly 80 percent.

Education and Exhortation

Demonstrating the power of persuasion in a university community, Susan G. Pedersen, dean of undergraduate education and professor of history, announced dramatic progress in expanding the freshman seminars program. At the May 15 Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting, Pedersen noted that in the 2001-2002 academic year, there will be 62 seminars, nearly twice the 33 offered in the year just ended, with some 40 members of the faculty teaching the small classes (which are limited to 12 students). Increasing the number of courses and engaging regular faculty members--as opposed to lecturers and visiting professors--to teach them have been among Pedersen's highest priorities in her first year as dean (see "Face-to-Face with Faculty," January-February, page 64). Although formal commitments to expand the program further to accommodate all freshmen, and issues concerning concentration or Core credit and grading, remain to be resolved, Pedersen's appeals for voluntary participation yielded real results, especially among professors in the humanities.

 

Twenty-First Century Camelot

Graham Frazier Falkenrath
John D. Graham Jendayi E. Frazier Richard A. Falkerath
School of Public Health Kennedy School of Government Kennedy School of Government
The peopling of JFK's Washington it isn't, but a number of faculty members have been appointed to serve in the Bush administration. John D. Graham, professor of policy and decision sciences at Harvard's School of Public Health, and the founding director of its Center for Risk Analysis, has become the chief overseer of federal regulatory activities at the Office of Management and Budget. Two assistant professors from the Kennedy School, Jendayi E. Frazier and Richard A. Falkenrath, have become members of the National Security Council, overseeing African affairs and proliferation strategy, respectively, and research scholar Robert B. Zoellick will be the country's chief trade representative.

 

Winning Women

honorees Offner, Goodwin, Choi, Lim
From left to right: Honorees Amy C. Offner, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Hannah Choi, and Peggy T. Lim
Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office
Peggy T. Lim '01, an East Asian studies concentrator from Tampa, received this year's Harvard College Women's Leadership Award, recognizing activities ranging from the executive editorship of Diversity & Distinction magazine to the foundation of the forthcoming "Women's Guide to Harvard." Historian and commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ph.D. '68, won the associated Women's Professional Achievement Award. The undergraduate runners-up were Hannah Choi '01 and Amy C. O!=ner 'o1. The latter soon appeared in a leadership role perhaps unforeseen by the awards' administrators: on Wednesday, April 18, when Progressive Student Labor Movement members occupied Massachusetts Hall for a sit-in supporting a University "living wage," Offner acted as chief spokesperson (see page 64). The same day, she appeared in a photograph on the Crimson's front page lunching with President-elect Lawrence H. Summers, who had dropped in at Lowell House (where he was once a resident tutor) during an April 17 visit to campus.

 

Thief with Revolutionary Bent

Widener Library staff discovered this spring that 46 books, pamphlets, and journals from the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, worth about $10,000, had disappeared from the stacks. After they made the theft public, a librarian at Hilles reported that 13 pages had been ripped from a book shelved there, Vie de Louis Phillipe Joseph, duc d'Orleans (1790). The FBI and other law-enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation.

 

Nota Bene

Arsenal acquired. The University on May 15 completed its acquisition of the 30-acre office complex redeveloped from the former Watertown Arsenal, paying $162.6 million (see "In Watertown, a New Frontier?" May-June, page 69). Arduous negotiations then followed with the town over the terms of an agreement for payments in lieu of property taxes on space used by Harvard, as opposed to commercial tenants.

 

The next Norton. Writer and critic George Steiner--perhaps most widely known for his reviews in the New Yorker--has been named the Norton professor of poetry for 2001-2002. The author of In Bluebeard's Castle and The Death of Tragedy, among many other works, he will present the Norton Lectures next fall, examining "the act of teaching, from the Platonic Socrates to Wittgenstein and Ionesco."

 

Grad-school grades. In its annual report card on graduate and professional schools, U.S. News and World Report ranked Harvard first among research-oriented medical schools and among schools of education; second among business schools (behind newcomer Stanford) and in public health (Johns Hopkins); and third in law (trailing Yale and Stanford). In arts and sciences disciplines, Harvard continued to place first or second, in some cases in a tie, in biology, chemis-try, economics, English, government-political science, and mathematics, among the major fields evaluated, and slightly lower in computer science, geology, history, physics, psychology, and sociology.

Attacking Africa's Ills. The Harvard Malaria Initiative at the School of Public Health (www.hsph.harvard.edu/malaria) received a $1-million grant from ExxonMobil to support development of antimalarial drugs, vaccines, and field programs for disease prevention in sub-Saharan countries where the oil company operates: Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria. Dyann F. Wirth, professor of tropical public health and director of the initiative, created in 1997, emphasized the importance of developing new treatments to combat drug-resistant strains of malaria, which is expected to affect 300 million people this year, and to kill one million, mostly in the sub-Saharan region. Separately, 128 scholars throughout Harvard and its affiliated hospitals signed a "Consensus Statement on Antiretroviral Treatment for AIDS in Poor Countries," calling for $4.1-billion annual investment in AIDS treatment and prevention research and action, focusing principally on Africa (http://aids.harvard.edu). The report, drawing on expertise in public health, medicine, development economics, and other disciplines, set off a vigorous public debate on priorities for dealing with the AIDS epidemic in poor nations, and on the challenges of funding the necessary programs.

 

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