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John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

September-October 2005

Silent Justice

John G. Roberts Jr.
Harvard Year Book Publications 

U.S. Senators seeking a paper trail of the career and views of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. ’76, J.D. ’79, won’t find much in his College class reports. The summa cum laude history concentrator (he wrote his senior thesis on “Old and New Liberalism: The British Liberal Party’s Approach to the Social Problem, 1906-1914”) did not file narratives in any of the five-year class compendiums. The higher-education press was quick to note his familiarity with college and university issues from his private practice at Hogan & Hartson. If confirmed, he would be the sixth sitting justice educated at Harvard Law School, and might have an interesting entry for his thirtieth-reunion report.

 

The $31-Million Solution

On August 3, the University announced it would pay $26.5 million (of $31 million overall) to settle the federal civil suit over advisory work on economic reform in Russia in the 1990s. Details will be reported in the next issue.

 

Fresh Face, Old Foot

Photograph by Gail Oskin / Harvard News Office

During his four-city tour of the United States, Vietnamese prime minister Phan Van Khai stopped by Massachusetts Hall on June 24 to talk with President Lawrence H. Summers about economic development and public-health issues such as AIDS and avian flu; joined a Kennedy School panel on enhancing higher education in Vietnam; and, in between, managed an iconic toe-touching in Harvard Yard. Khai is the highest-ranking Vietnamese official to visit since the end of the war in 1975.

Radcliffe Roster

Margarita Estévez-Abe Alice Flaherty J. Russell Muirhead Mary C. Waters
Courtesy of Margarita Estévez-Abe Stephanie Mitchell / Harvard News Office Stephanie Mitchell / Harvard News Office Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office

The Radcliffe Institute’s 51 fellows for 2005-2006—40 women and 11 men; see www.radcliffe.edu for the complete list—include a large Harvard delegation: art historian Suzanne Preston Blier (studying African antiquities); historian Vincent Brown (Atlantic slavery); government scholar Margarita Estévez-Abe (occupational segregation by gender); Medical School instructor Alice Flaherty (mechanisms of denial and disease); economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz (leading a cluster of scholars examining career and family choices among college graduates); political scientist J. Russell Muirhead (on right and left in party politics); biologist Naomi Pierce (the evolution of blue butterflies); educational historian Julie Reuben (campus protests in the 1960s); literature scholar Susan R. Suleiman (art by child survivors of the Holocaust); and sociologist Mary C. Waters (the transition to adulthood).

 

Global Health Grants

David A. Edwards
Jon Chase / Harvard News Office

Two faculty leaders of Harvard’s Initiative for Global Health received major grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenges in Global Health” program, which announced commitments of $437 million to 43 research teams on June 27. The program is pursuing 14 scientific challenges, from developing better vaccines to pioneering ways of preventing drug resistance. McKay professor of the practice of biomedical engineering David A. Edwards was granted $7.6 million to work on reformulating tuberculosis and diphtheria vaccines, currently injected, into aerosol sprays. HIGH director Christopher Murray, Saltonstall professor of population policy and professor of social medicine, received $18.8 million for work by an international team of researchers on generating new methods to assess the health status of developing nations. (Both professors’ work is described in “Global Health Aims HIGH,” January-February, page 61.) Three days later, Oracle Corporation chief executive Larry Ellison told the Wall Street Journal that his foundation planned to give Harvard $115 million, primarily for a study, directed by Murray, of the effectiveness of various interventions designed to improve global health (see www.globalhealth.harvard.edu for a project outline by Murray); about $15 million would support new professorships. The gift, much hinted-at by Ellison and discussed among faculty members, had not been finally negotiated at press time.

 

AIDS Action

Norman L. Letvin Joseph G. Sodroski Stephen C. Harrison Raphael Dolin
Images courtesy of Harvard Medical School

The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, established in July by the National Institutes of Health, will include significant representation from Harvard Medical School. The new center, a consortium of universities and research centers under the direction of Duke’s Barton Haynes—funded initially with $15 million, with the potential to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars of research in coming years—includes among its scientific leaders professor of medicine Norman L. Letvin, who will also oversee work on vaccine production, and professor of pathology Joseph G. Sodroski. Professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology Stephen C. Harrison will direct structural-biology work, and Finland professor of medicine Raphael Dolin, dean for academic and clinical programs, will direct clinical activities.

 

Dental Destination

Photograph by Anton Grassl, courtesy of Rothman Partners Architects

Harvard School of Dental Medicine capped off Commencement week by dedicating its new Research and Education Building on June 10. The six-level structure brings together more than 300 researchers, faculty members, and staff in a single building for the first time in more than two decades. Reflecting HSDM’s ties to Harvard Medical School and emphasis on scientific research, the building incorporates new laboratory facilities for molecular dental medicine

Nota Bene

Champion chemist. Flowers University Professor George M. Whitesides received the 2005 Welch Award, which carries a $300,000 honorarium, in recognition of his productive career in chemistry, which has recently included pioneering work in nanoscale materials (see “Thinking Small,” January-February, page 50). Separately, he and Ramsey professor of managerial economics emeritus Howard Raiffa were among the 74 newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering.

 

Telescope turned off? The Oak Ridge Observatory, built in the 1930s in Harvard, Massachusetts, may be shuttered. Its five-foot mirror, the largest optical telescope in the United States east of Texas, has become increasingly obsolete, and suburban light pollution limits observing. The facility, owned by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has been supported by the Smithsonian Institution, which intends to terminate funding at summer’s end. Other instruments at the site, including a radio telescope, will remain in service.

 

Fluxus foundations. Harvard University Art Museums has acquired by gift and purchase the Barbara and Peter Moore collection of “Fluxus” art—121 works from the loosely affiliated international artists’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Among those represented in this postwar potpourri are Christo, Claes Oldenburg, and Yoko Ono.

 

Marilyn Dunn
Courtesy of Marilyn Dunn
Elisabeth Werby
Courtesy of Harvard Museum of Natural History
Ryan Travia
Courtesy of Ryan Travia
Bradford W. Voight
Courtesy of Harvard University Art Museums

Comings and goings. Former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen became director of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics on July 1.… David W. Scudder ’57, vice president of trusts at Harvard Management Company since 1999, departed July 1 to join the new Aria Asset Management. As head of the 17-person trust unit, Scudder secured IRS permission for HMC to manage planned-giving donors’ funds as endowment, and helped create tax-efficient portfolios for Harvard benefactors.… The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, part of the Radcliffe Institute, has appointed Marilyn Dunn executive director. Dunn, who came from Hartwick College’s library, succeeds Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, who is now University Archivist.…The Harvard Museum of Natural History has appointed Elisabeth Werby ’72 its new executive director. Werby had been at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. …Recent transplants from similar posts at Dartmouth include Ryan Travia, who became Harvard’s director of alcohol and substance-abuse services on August 1 (see “Countering Alcohol,” January-February, page 75), and Lawrence M. Levine, now the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ associate dean and chief information officer.… Gearing up for an overhaul of the Fogg (see “Harvard Portrait,” July-August, page 56), the Harvard University Art Museums appointed Bradford W. Voigt as its first director of institutional advancement; he served previously at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Kennedy School of Government.…Abigail Lipson, formerly a counselor at the Bureau of Study Counsel, was named its director, effective on September 1; most recently, she directed American University’s mental health and counseling services.