Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

May-June 2003

Global Perspective

At a time of war, shifting international alliances, and reassessment of the gains from "globalization" of the world economy, the Harvard Alumni Association's guest speaker on Commencement afternoon will be Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, who concluded his six-year term as president of Mexico in December 2000. An economist, Zedillo was, successively, Mexico's budget and public-education secretary prior to being elected to the presidency. He is now resident at Yale, from which he earned two master's degrees and his doctorate: effective last September, he was appointed director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and professor in the field of international economics and politics.

 

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Elena Kagan
Justin Ide / Harvard News Office
Dean Designate

On April 3, Elena Kagan, J.D. '86, was appointed dean of Harvard Law School, beginning July 1. Kagan joined the faculty as professor of law in 2001. Details will be published in the next issue.

Tuition Takes Off

The bill for tuition, room, board, and fees at Harvard College in the 2003-2004 academic year will be $37,928. That is 5.5 percent, or $1,928, higher than in the current year, and a continuing escalation from the 3.5 percent and 4.9 percent increases imposed during the prior two years. Despite minimal inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, this year's increase, the highest in a decade, is driven by the factors common to wage- and benefits-dominated service enterprises like educational institutions. Public colleges and universities nationwide are struggling to compensate for reduced state budgets. Private schools are coping with rising personnel costs and ebbing gifts and endowment payouts, even as they invest in new facilities and hire faculty members (see "CFO for Tighter Times"): in Harvard's case, William C. Kirby, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, cited the costs of new science facilities, international education, and overhauling undergraduate education. In keeping with the College's need-blind admissions policy, Kirby said financial aid will be increased.

CHOIRMASTER CONCLUDES

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Photograph by Stu Rosner

Memorial Church will lose its organist and choirmaster this June when Murray Forbes Somerville gives up his Harvard responsibilities to become director of music at Saint George's Episcopal Church, in Nashville. Somerville, who is also curator of the University organs, arrived at Harvard in 1990.

 

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N. Gregory Mankiw Martin S. Feldstein
Jane Reed / Harvard News Office Courtesy Martin S. Feldstein
Economics Explicators

President Bush has named Freed professor of economics N. Gregory Mankiw to chair his Council of Economic Advisers. The appointment of Mankiw, author of the bestselling undergraduate economics textbook, drew much attention because of his past criticisms of supply-side economics and his expressed belief that large government deficits increase interest rates, possibly dampening private economic activity.... Baker professor of economics Martin S. Feldstein has been designated president-elect of the American Economics Association for a term that begins next January.

Ph.D. Progress

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences dean Peter Ellison reported in March that changes in graduate financial aid implemented since 1997 have boosted the yield (acceptance of offers of admission) in the humanities and social sciences from 53 percent to 65 percent last year. More recent changes in support for science doctoral students boosted the yield there from 49 percent to 58 percent. From 1997 to 2002, applications to GSAS increased 50 percent, to nearly 10,000, and selectivity in the humanities and social sciences declined to 9 percent — lower than for Harvard College. Stipends have risen more than 50 percent, to $17,600 for the academic year, recently augmented by summer research funding; have been extended to almost all students; and have been guaranteed to include third- and fourth-year support, usually by means of teaching fellowships.

PHOTOS TO THE FOGG

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Courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums

Ten thousand photographs and 40,000 negatives from four collections have been transferred from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts to the Fogg Art Museum, where they will be more accessible to students and scholars. The holdings encompass fine-art photographs, works on American social history, examples of work by professional photographers active from the 1930s to the 1960s (some of which were highlighted in this magazine's March-April 1999 cover story), and glass plate-negatives documenting the construction of Boston's railway system in the early 1900s. Shown here: a 1931 Walker Evans photograph of Saratoga Springs, New York.

Nota Bene

Character Capabilities. The Harvard Online Library Information System — HOLLIS, as the principal "catalog" is known — can now search for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials in their original scripts. Users must have computers and keyboards adapted for CJK scripts. The enhanced system, which provides access to more than a half million research items, complements the ability to search in romanized forms of the three languages.

 

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Jacqueline O'Neill
Courtesy Jacqueline O'Neill
Allston Executive. Jacqueline O'Neill, staff director for the president and provost, and before that a mainstay of Harvard's government and community relations department, will move over to the Allston Initiative. As newly appointed director of communications and external relations, she will be the chief contact person for what President Lawrence H. Summers called "one of the most complex and multifaceted challenges facing the University."

 

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Frank Batten
Harvard Business School
Rainmaker. Frank Batten, M.B.A. '52, a cable-television pioneer and founder of Landmark Communications, who launched the Weather Channel in 1982, has given Harvard Business School $32 million. The gift, the largest reported so far during the school's $500-million capital campaign, will be used to renew and enhance the residential campus. Dean Kim B. Clark said a building would be named for Batten, and one of the drives connecting the campus to the Allston-Brighton neighborhood will be called Batten Way.

Business Bookshelf. Harvard Business School Press has established a new imprint, Benchmark Books, with the nonprofit advisory group The Conference Board. The titles, aimed at senior executives, will begin next year with The New Consumer Guidebook and The Business Ethics Guidebook, both based on Conference Board research. Last fall, the press established a partnership with the Kennedy School of Government for a new line of books on public leadership.

 

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Samantha Power
Stephanie Mitchell / Harvard News Office
Honored Authors. Kennedy School lecturer Samantha Power, J.D. '99, won the National Book Critics Circle prize for nonfiction for A Problem from Hell, on genocide (reviewed in the September-October 2002 issue, page 26); in late March, the book also won the Nieman Foundation's J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. Nominees for the awards included Yale historian Edmund S. Morgan '37, Ph.D. '42, for his biography of Benjamin Franklin; Robert A. Caro, Nf '66, whose third volume on Lyndon Johnson had already won a National Book Award; and New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, M.Div. '83, Nf '99, whose book on war amplifies "What I Read at War" (July-August 2000, page 58).

 

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Mira Nair
Office of the Arts
Filmmaker. Mira Nair '79, director of Monsoon Wedding and Mississippi Masala, among other features and documentaries, will be awarded the ninth annual Harvard Arts Medal on May 3, during the Arts First celebration (see "Harvard Calendar"). She is the first filmmaker to receive the honor.

 

Graduates' Gurus. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students selected three faculty members for excellence in cultivating their students' academic and professional skills and attending to their personal well-being. Winners of the Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Awards are Max H. Bazerman, Straus professor of business administration; Ann W. Rowland, assistant professor of English and American literature and language; and Joan V. Ruderman, Nelson professor of cell biology.

Collections Closing. The Harvard Collections store, created in 1997 as an anchor for the retail arcade in Holyoke Center and a showcase for merchandise derived from University museum holdings (see "If at First...," November-December 1997, page 68), closed for financial reasons March 31. The space will be leased to a new tenent.

 

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Geoff Nyarota
The Harvard Crimson
Journalist's Haven. Geoff Nyarota, founder and editor of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent newspaper, was appointed a Nieman Fellow after he was removed from his post and forced to flee the country in late December. Nieman Foun- dation curator Robert H. Giles, Nf '66, said the appointment would "provide a measure of safety for him and his family as well as call attention to the brutally repressive regime in Zimbabwe."