Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

September-October 2001

Money Managers Move

For the fourth time since 1998, a group of Harvard Management Company (HMC) investment professionals have decamped, seeking the greener pastures offered by owning their own firm. Robert Atchinson and Phil Gross, joined by seven colleagues, wound up their business as HMC's Select Equity Group at the end of the academic year and launched Adage Capital Management. Select had managed $5 billion in domestic equity funds for Harvard. During the past decade, the team's returns exceeded the Standard and Poor's 500 index each year, outperforming the index by an average of 4.5 percentage points annually; HMC president and CEO Jack Meyer understandably called their departure "a major disappointment." To maintain access to their expertise, Meyer said, Adage will be hired to manage $1.8 billion for Harvard, and HMC will hold a minority interest in the firm's revenues as it attracts outside investors. A similar arrangement was crafted on the three previous occasions when equity, high-yield bond, and private-equity and real-estate managers left HMC to set up their own shops. With the latest departure, the share of University funds managed internally will decline to about 55 percent from an average of about 85 percent in the mid 1990s.

several recent front pages of The Crimson

Crimson Cache: Can't get enough of the Harvard Crimson? The student daily is spending $500,000 to digitize its entire archive, so users can search all 128 years of back editions, or look at high-resolution images of past issues. The project, which Crimson president C. Matthew MacInnis '02 described as creating the largest archive of free newspaper content on the Internet, engendered some controversy when it was reported that the paper, editorially in favor of a "living wage" for University employees, was paying typists in Cambodia 60 cents an hour to keystroke back issues for the searchable database. According to MacInnis, those workers--retained through a nonprofit company--earn several times the prevailing poverty wage and enjoy benefits and conditions superior to those prevailing locally. The project is expected to be complete by year-end.

 

(Acting) Decanal Duo

Singer Willett
Judith D. Singer John B. Willett

Graduate School of Education

Statisticians Judith D. Singer, Ph.D. '83, and John B. Willett were named by outgoing president Neil L. Rudenstine to serve jointly as acting dean of the Graduate School of Education. President Lawrence H. Summers is conducting the search for a permanent successor to Jerome T. Murphy, who stepped down as dean June 30. Singer and Willett, both professors of education, have collaborated as scholars at the school since 1985, writing two books and numerous articles together and serving as co-academic deans since 1999--a role they will continue to play, even as they assume their new acting-dean duties and complete two more books, on longitudinal research.

 

Renaissance Regime

Connors
Joseph and Françoise Connors

Joseph Connors, Ph.D. '78, has been appointed director of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard-owned Renaissance-studies center near Florence, effective next summer. He will succeed Walter J. Kaiser, Higginson professor of English literature and professor of comparative literature, who has been director since 1988. President Neil L. Rudenstine, announcing the appointment, described Connors--who chairs Columbia's department of art history and archaeology, and previously directed the American Academy in Rome--as "an outstanding scholar" and "an exceptional teacher." "In addition," Rudenstine said, "he and his wife, Françoise, are warm and welcoming people who will bring to I Tatti the grace and devoted care that are part of its spirit."

 

Students, Segregated

Orfield
Gary Orfield
Jon Chase / Harvard News Office

Even as the nation's population becomes more diverse, students attend increasingly segregated schools, according to Harvard's Civil Rights Project. An analysis of data from the 1998-1999 school year, published in July, reveals that more than 70 percent of the nation's black students are enrolled in predominantly minority schools, up from the low point of 63 percent in 1980. After many schools in the South were integrated during the late 1960s, the report noted, the percentage of black students in majority white schools decreased steadily during the past decade, and is now below one-third of black students. And by the study's measure, segregation is rising sharply for Latino students. "Though our schools will be our first major institutions to experience non-white majorities, our research consistently shows that schools are becoming increasingly segregated," said Gary Orfield, professor of education and social policy, co-director of the project, and coauthor of the report. The text is available at the project's website, www.law.harvard.edu/civilrights.

 

Longfellow in the Library

The Harvard College Library has acquired the largest-known private collection of materials pertaining to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, LL.D. 1859, one-time Smith professor of French and Spanish languages and literatures and professor of belles-lettres--thereby augmenting its already extensive holdings housed in Houghton Library. The private sale, concluded at the end of June, brings to Harvard items collected by Victor Gulotta, of Newton, Massachusetts. Included are a large number of letters in the poet's own hand, according to Leslie A. Morris, curator of manuscripts--among them amusing notes to the poet's Bowdoin College classmate (1825) Nathaniel Hawthorne.


Strategy Central

A pioneer in the study of corporate strategies and competitiveness, competitive analysis of public policies and economic development, and the application of those disciplines to social problems, Michael E. Porter has now brought all his work together in an Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (www.isc.hbs.edu). Porter, a member of the Business School faculty since 1973, was recently appointed Lawrence University Professor (March-April, page 69). His new institute, with research staff and visiting fellows, aims to promote scholarship across disciplines and geographic lines, and to spread its findings through annual profiles of nations' economic competitiveness; studies of the relative economic attributes of states, regions, and metropolitan areas in the United States; and data series on the performance of American public companies. Its partners include academic institutions in Latin America and Japan, Harvard's Center for International Development, and the Porter-founded Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (see "M.B.A.s Talk Trash," July-August 1996, page 64). Porter plans to develop curricular materials for class-based and distance-learning use, and to create symposiums for new chief executive officers and for finance ministers, thus combining theory, teaching, and private and public practice. The institute is headquartered at the business school's Ludcke House.

 

Television Travels?

WGBH, the public television company, is scouting new locations for its offices and studios, now located on Western Avenue in Allston, at the edge of the Business School campus. Since Harvard already owns the main WGBH site and leases it to the broadcaster, its relocation would advance the University's ability to move ahead with plans to develop its Allston acreage for academic use and to make Western Avenue a more appealing boulevard. WGBH also uses and owns other buildings in the area, near Harvard-acquired land; those parcels could be of interest as the University attempts to assemble contiguous properties.

 

Nota Bene

Barker
Bob Barker and friend

Courtesy Bob Barker

Aiding animal rights. Pearson Television has established a $500,000 Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights at Harvard Law School, honoring the perennial host of The Price Is Right, a longtime advocate of pet neutering and of other animal-rights causes. Steven M. Wise, then serving as a lecturer, taught the course "Animal Rights Law" at the school in the autumn of 1999, shortly before publication of his book on the subject, Rattling the Cage.

Museums' main man. James Cuno,

Brevia.Jim_Cuno
James Cuno

Harvard Art Museums

Cabot director of the Harvard University Art Museums and professor of history of art and architecture, has been elected president of the Association of Art Museum Directors for an annual term. The association, which represents museums throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico, develops standards of professional practice and represents museums' interests in Washington, D.C.

Community care. McLean Hospital has received an anonymous $12.5-million gift that will be used to support a new outpatient center and rehabilitation program for adults with chronic psychiatric illnesses. The center, to be located in Belmont near McLean's campus, will coordinate housing, education, and psychiatric services for patients who do not require hospitalization, along with social and employment activities

Funding fairness. William O. Taylor '54, chairman emeritus of the Boston Globe (and a director of this magazine), and members of his family have raised the sum of $450,000 to endow an annual $10,000 prize that will honor fairness in daily newspaper journalism. The prize, based on nominations from a panel of 31 journalists, will be administered by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard.