University People

Senior Status

David B. Fithian
Photograph by Michael Rodriguez
John Fox
Photograph by Jim Harrison
Effective September 1, assistant dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) David B. Fithian also began serving as secretary of the faculty. In the latter capacity, he succeeds John B. Fox Jr. '59, who has worked at Harvard since 1967, first in the office for graduate and career plans and then in University Hall, where he formally became a full-time special assistant to then dean of FAS John Dunlop in 1972. Subsequent stints included nine years as dean of Harvard College, and nine more as the administrative dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He became secretary of the faculty in 1992. Strung together, Fox's assignments, by his reckoning, had him "sitting at the front of the Faculty Room... longer than any other person save [Charles William] Eliot [president from 1869 to 1909]" — befitting a Harvard servant whose family ties to the University extend to John Pierce, secretary to the Board of Overseers for 35 years in the 1800s, and beyond. Fox's final assignment, as senior adviser to FAS dean William C. Kirby, is compiling the history of the faculty, for which he seeks information and anecdotes from anyone. If insufficient material is available, he can always resort to other sources: in his fortieth class report, the wry Fox told classmates, "I enjoy being able, unchallenged, to make up my own Harvard history and precedents as occasions demand."


Fresh Dean?

Dean of freshmen Elizabeth Studley Nathans "will conclude her service" at the end of the academic year, the College announced on September 12, just as the current first-years settled into Harvard Yard. Nathans, who took office in 1992, oversees academic and residential life and advising for 1,650 students annually. A successor will be identified by Benedict H. Gross, dean of Harvard College, who also leads the review of the undergraduate curriculum. That effort (see "Addition by Subtraction," July-August, page 55) may effect changes in students' housing assignments, the timing of their concentration choice, their interactions with upperclassmen in the Houses, and the structure of academic counseling in their first few College semesters.

C. Ronald Kahn
Courtesy of Joslin Diabetes Center


Diabetes Doctor

Iacocca professor of medicine C. Ronald Kahn, president and director of Joslin Diabetes Center, received the Bernard Medal from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, recognizing his research on insulin signal transduction and the mechanisms of altered signaling in disease.

David Liu
Courtesy of David Liu


Star Synthesist

Popular Science has named chemist David R. Liu, Loeb associate professor of the natural sciences, one of its "brilliant 10" young researchers. The magazine cited his use of strands of DNA as a scaffold to direct chemical reactions and syntheses precisely.


Lucian L. Leape
Harvard News Office

Fixing Medical Mix-ups

Adjunct professor of health policy Lucian L. Leape, of the School of Public Health, has received the individual achievement award of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Quality Forum for "fundamental conceptual contributions" to the understanding of medical errors and efforts to improve patient safety.    


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