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Harvard Citizen

July-August 2006

With the death of Robert G. Stone Jr. ’45, LL.D. ’03, on April 25, the University lost a rare friend. The longtime member of the Harvard Corporation (1975 to 2002) co-chaired two major capital campaigns, led the search committee that chose Lawrence H. Summers as Harvard’s twenty-seventh president, chaired the Committee on University Resources, and served on the board of Harvard Management Company. His prowess as a fundraiser was legendary; in a tribute to Stone at Memorial Church on May 4, Neil L. Rudenstine, Harvard’s twenty-sixth president, described him as “warm, candid, imposing, direct, and virtually unrefusable.” The captain of Harvard’s record-setting heavyweight crew in his senior year (he graduated in 1947, having given two wartime years to the army), Stone in 2001 endowed the position of men’s heavyweight crew coach; in addition, more than 500 scholarships have been awarded to deserving undergraduates from the Stone Fund since 1979. Along with improving international studies and athletics at his alma mater, undergraduate financial aid was at the top of Stone’s to-do list.

Robert G. Stone Jr.
Courtesy of William Boardman, Jr. and the Stone family

A shipping-industry executive who made his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in Marion, on Buzzards Bay, he nonetheless made more time for undergraduates than any other senior University official, traveling to the Yard every other week to have breakfast at the Faculty Club with students—many of them Stone Scholars—because he was genuinely interested in them and their Harvard experiences. Gregg Stone ’75, J.D. ’79, reflecting on his father for an obituary in the Boston Globe, summarized him thus: “He was a man of commerce, and he loved people.” Many grateful members of the Harvard community, much the richer for the life of Robert Stone, loved him back.