John Harvard's Journal
James F. Rothenberg '68, M.B.A. '70, has been elected Treasurer and a member of the Harvard Corporation, effective July 1. He succeeds D. Ronald Daniel, M.B.A. '54. Rothenberg is president of Capital Research and Management Company, of Los Angeles, investment adviser to the third-largest American mutual-fund family.
Jawboning workssomewhat, and for a while. That is the message of Harvard College dean Benedict H. Gross's February report to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on grading. In academic year 1999-2000, the mean College grade peaked at 3.41 (on the new four-point scale), and then dropped to 3.40 and 3.39 in the succeeding two years. During those same years, A grades accounted for 23.8 percent, 23.4 percent, and 22 percent of all grades, respectively, while A- was awarded 24.8 percent, 25 percent, and 24.4 percent of the time. Thus it seemed that widely publicized talk about grading practices, compression, and so on had taken effect. But in 2002-2003, the trend reversed: the mean grade rose to 3.41, and A and A- shares rebounded to 22.4 percent and 25.4 percent, respectively: 47.8 percent of all course grades recorded. Gross exhorted the faculty to adhere to its grading guidelines.
With the Coop featuring crimson panties with white hearts for February 14, why not an undergraduate publication on sexuality? Providing much Valentine's-week news fodder and titillation, H Bomb, proposed by Katharina P. Cieplak-Von Baldegg '06 and Camilla A. Hrdy '04modeled after the Vassar College erotica magazine Squirmwon Committee on College Life approval as a legitimate student enterprise. A Crimson account quoted the editors characterizing the effort as "pornographic," and cited an opinion of the University general counsel's office that students posing nude must be 18 years old and could not be photographed in Harvard buildings. Faculty adviser Marc D. Hauser, professor of psychology (Science B-29, "Evolution of Human Nature," nicknamed "Sex"), weighed in on the plan for a "literary arts magazine about sex and sexual issues at Harvard." The College then decided it would not fund the venture. The editors, with a $2,000 grant from the Undergraduate Council, still hope for publication in time for Commencement.
The central administration's financial planning task force began implementing cost-cutting measures in mid February, and had laid off 20 support employees and 23 human-resources staffers by late March (see "Barer-Bones Budgets," November-December 2003, page 58). In all, employees were told, as many as 70 positions, out of 1,000, will be eliminated to save $10.2 million and keep the administrative budget level at $141 million. Meanwhile, in Boston, Harvard Medical School's executive dean for administration, Eric P. Buehrens, has notified the Longwood staff of plans to offer an enhanced severance program to long-term employees, reduce the administrative budget, rent out lab space, reduce capital spending by 16 percent ($13 million in the next five years), and rigorously review all proposed hiring. Absent such measures, he forecast deficits ballooning to a cumulative $62 million of red ink in the next half decade, as benefits costs surge, the endowment distribution slows, and the expansion of federal research funding comes to a halt.
Prophet in the Pulpit
Reflecting on Harvard after recently concluding his term as president of the Undergraduate Council, Rohit Chopra '04 used the occasion of his Morning Prayers remarks at Memorial Church on Friday, February 13, to decry the ascent of the Crimson PR professional. In the wake of events such as the living-wage sit-in, grade inflation, or "an upcoming student Commencement speech" (controversy over the use of the word "jihad" in June 2002 graduation exercises), the response has been "to bring in the professionals. Never before has Harvard seen so many communications directors, spokespersons, and other public-relations experts lending a helping hand." Chopra attributed the phenomenon to worrying too much about the outside world's regard and less about "what has really made Harvard great: courage, boldness, truth."
|Rev. J. Bryan Hehir|
|Courtesy of the Harvard Divinity School|
Homecoming. The Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, chair of the executive committee of the Divinity School from 1998 to 2001 and then president and chief executive of Catholic Charities USA, has returned to Boston (where he now presides over Catholic Charities in the troubled archdiocese) and to Harvard. In February, he accepted a part-time appointment, beginning in the fall term, as Montgomery professor of the practice of religion and public life at the Kennedy School.
Development directors. Scott A. Abell '72, a past president of the Harvard Alumni Association, has been appointed associate vice president and dean for developmentthe chief fundraiserfor the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and so is withdrawing his candidacy for election to the Board of Overseers. His Harvard College connections extend to children Kelly '02 and Scott '07. The Harvard College Fund, which coordinates annual and reunion giving, is now under the direction of Suzanne J. Battit, M.B.A. '92.
Voice for the humanities. Porter University Professor and noted poetry critic Helen Vendler will deliver the 2004 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, on May 6. The lectureship, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, has previously been conferred on faculty members Gerald Holton (physicist and historian of science, 1981), the late Emily T. Vermeule (classics, 1982), Bernard Bailyn (historian, 1998), and Henry Louis Gates Jr. (African-American studies, 2002).
Endowment outsourcing. Harvard Management Company portfolio manager Jeffrey B. Larson, whose foreign-equity and emerging-markets funds have helped propel superior investment returns, has followed other HMC professionals who have set up their own firms in recent years. His new enterprise, Sowood Capital Management, will run a hedge fund and a commodity fund; HMC will entrust Larson and his team with $500 million and $200 million, respectively, to manage.
Pudding pot potentates. The Hasty Pudding woman and man of the year, recognized (and roasted) respectively on February 12 and one week later, are actress Sandra Bullock (Speed, While You Were Sleeping) and actor Robert Downey Jr. (Chaplin, Ally McBeal).
Women on top. Even though a more-restrictive process reduced "early action" applications sharply, as planned, a total of 19,750 students sought admission to the College class of 2008, trailing only the record of nearly 20,987 submissions received last year. When acceptance and other letters were mailed and e-mailed on April 1, for the first time in Harvard history, more women (1,016) than men (1,013) were offered admission.
|Anna M. Solomon-Schwartz|
|Courtesy of Anna M. Solomon-Schwartz|
Miscellany. Harvard Hillel's new president is Anna M. Solomon-Schwartz '06, the first woman elected to the position.... The Harvard Business Review has been nominated for a National Magazine award in the prestigious "general excellence" category; winners will be announced May 5.
|Mary Ann Glendon|
|Harvard Law School Bulletin|
...Hand professor of law Mary Ann Glendon has been named president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, making her the Catholic Church's senior female adviser.... Economist Kenneth S. Rogoff, Cabot professor of public policy, who was appointed director of the Center for International De- velopment last fall (see "Harvard Portrait," January-February), has stepped down from the position; no explanation was offered.