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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

November-December 2002

 

Freshman to Freshmen

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William C. Kirby

Justin Ide / Harvard News Office

Welcoming his first College entering class as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, William C. Kirby played the historian he is in remarks to the '06ers on the evening of September 8 in Tercentenary Theatre. He told them about Elias Mann, who wrote in August 1796 of his first day of "colledge" life, "nothing of importance has transferred, & I went to bed early." Things quickly looked up, Kirby reported, as Mann the next day "Wrestled some, and tore my pantaloons very badly in the knee and seat" before having a "savage time" later that evening in the Square. In his decan-al capacity, Kirby—a leading faculty proponent of study abroad—urged the students to remember that "your learning may not take place only here" and encouraged them to consider pursuing "an education in the world." Finally, Kirby reassured parents that "Bill Cosby reminds us that 'human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.' This is a good thing, since we turn the heat down over winter break."

Chief Greeter's Good-bye

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Richard M. Hunt

Photograph by Jim Harrison

University Marshal Richard M. Hunt retired August 30, assuring a new look and sound for Commencement next June. Hunt, most widely known for directing the morning graduation exercises each year, has kept them on track with a gentle manner and no-nonsense voice. Besides those duties, the marshal is responsible for procotol—in particular, welcoming distinguished visitors and heads of state to Harvard—and for oversight of the international office, which aids some 3,000 students and 2,000 scholars in residence at the University each year and helps manage their compliance with government regulations. Hunt, marshal since 1982 and a faculty member for 42 years, also relinquished his position as senior lecturer on social studies. He intends to focus on completing a book, Harvard A to Z, which he is writing with former Harvard Magazine editor John T. Bethell. President Lawrence H. Summers, who has begun a search for Hunt's successor, called him "one of Harvard's leading goodwill ambassadors and a diplomat extraordinaire," and cited his "grace and sophistication" in discharging his duties.

Economic Estimator

The newest member of the National Bureau of Economic Research's seven-person Business Cycle Dating Committee is N. Gregory Mankiw, Freed professor of economics. He thus becomes one of the official arbiters of periods of growth and recession. Mankiw succeeds Princeton's Ben S. Bernanke (now a governor of the Federal Reserve System), and joins two other Harvard colleagues on the committee: NBER president Martin S. Feldstein, Baker professor of economics, and Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel professor of capital formation and growth at the Kennedy School of Government. 

 

Studying Sexual Assault

The committee created last spring to advise the provost and the dean of Harvard College on support services for victims of sexual violence, and on programs to reduce such assaults, began meeting in September. Professor of international health Jennifer Leaning, M.D., was appointed to chair the committee last May, following Faculty of Arts and Sciences approval of a new policy governing the evidence that must be presented to the Administrative Board before it agrees to hear such cases (see "Adjudicating Sexual-Assault Cases," July-August, page 81). Her colleagues are Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and master of Lowell House; Sarah Bess Levit-Shore '03; Everett Mendelsohn, professor of the history of science; Elizabeth Studley Nathans, dean of freshmen; Katherine Park, Stone Radcliffe professor of the history of science and chair of the committee on degrees in women's studies; Maureen Rezendes, a psychologist at the University Health Services; Michael Rodriguez, lecturer on psychology and senior tutor of Adams House; Veronica Reed Ryback, clinical instructor in psychiatry and former director of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's rape crisis center; Jared Slade '03; and James H. Ware, Mosteller professor of biostatistics, dean for academic affairs in the School of Public Health, and master of Cabot House. The committee's website is www.college.harvard.edu/services/leaningcommittee.

 

Nota Bene

Solid second. For the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Princeton the country's premier university, trailed closely by Harvard and Yale in a tie for second. As in years past, Harvard lagged slightly behind its two Ivy peers in the magazine's rankings of class size and student-faculty ratio. Five institutions were tied for fourth place: Cal- tech, Duke, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dartmouth and Columbia (tied with Northwestern) rounded out the top 10.

 

MacArthur manna. Professor of history Ann M. Blair '84, a specialist in early modern European intellectual history, has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. The so-called "genius grants" provide $500,000 over a five-year period. Blair is currently researching the "information overload" associated with the introduction of printing. Paul H. Ginsparg '77, Jf '81, professor of physics and computing science at Cornell; MIT economist Sendhil Mullainathan, Ph.D. '98; seismologist Brian Tucker, M.P.A. '91; Paul O. Wennberg, Ph.D. '94, professor of atmospheric chemistry and environmental engineering at Caltech; and two novelists—Jack Miles, Ph.D. '71, and Arch C. (Colson) Whitehead '91—were also among this year's 24 fellows.

 

Pudding pleas. Suzanne M. Pomey '02 and Randy J. Gomes '02, charged with looting the Hasty Pudding Theatricals of nearly $100,000 (see "Underhanded Undergraduates, May-June, page 59), reversed their original not-guilty pleas on September 13. Even though prosecutors urged that both serve time in jail, they were sentenced to probation by Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. on October 3.

 

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Marjorie B. Cohn
Harvard Art Museums
Acting art director. The Harvard University Art Museums will be in familiar hands throughout the search for a successor to James Cuno, who is moving to the Courtauld Institute of Art (see "Brevia," September-October, page 73). Marjorie B. Cohn, Weyerhauser curator of prints at the Fogg Art Museum, has been named acting director by Provost Steven E. Hyman, who is leading the search. Cohn, a 40-year veteran of the museums, has been a conservator (see "Turning History's Page," March-April, page 55) and director of the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. She served an earlier stint as acting director before Cuno arrived in 1991.

 

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Russell Mills
Courtesy of Nieman Foundation
Nieman news. Russell Mills received a fellowship from the Nieman Foundation this August (months after the usual dead-line) to spend the academic year at Harvard. The circumstances? Mills, publisher of the Ottawa Citizen for 16 years, was fired June 16—a day after receiving an honorary degree for his service to journalism—because the Citizen published a news article critical of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and an editorial calling for his resignation, without seeking prior approval from the paper's corporate parent. Mills, immediate past chair of the Canadian Newspaper Publishers Association, will develop ideas for a journalism institute in Canada.

ROTC reading. While debate continues over the terms of the relationship between Harvard and the undergraduate ROTC program (see page 72), cadets may now earn military credit for at least one College course. Government 1730, "War and Politics," will now fulfill the U.S. Air Force's sophomore military history requirement, simplifying students' classroom and travel burdens. Kaneb professor of national security and military affairs Stephen Peter Rosen told the Crimson the course would not be altered in any way to satisfy ROTC requirements.

 

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Stuart M. Shieber Steven E. Hyman

Jon Chase / Harvard News Office

Harvard News Office
Stellar seminars. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has managed both to increase the number of freshman seminars (see "Face-to-Face with Faculty," January-February 2001, page 64), and to lure stellar professors to give the small (12 students), selective classes. This year's offerings include "The Poetry of Walt Whitman," with Porter University Professor Helen Vendler; an exploration of natural-language interaction with computers, led by Stuart M. Shieber, McKay professor of computer science and Harvard College Professor; and a course starkly entitled "Addiction," offered by University pro- vost Steven E. Hyman, a neuroscientist who was most recently the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

 

Politics prizes. At its annual meeting, held this year in Boston just before Labor Day, the American Political Science Association conferred awards on 21 scholars and professionals, including Linda Greenhouse '68, Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, for journalism contributing to understanding of politics; Lars-Erik Cederman, Danziger associate professor of government, for a journal article; Daniel Carpenter, professor of government, for his book The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy; Michael Dawson, professor of government, for his book The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies; and Sidney Verba, Pforzheimer University Professor, as coauthor of The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender, Equality, and Political Participation.