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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

January-February 2007

Design Departure

Alan A. Altshuler
Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office

Alan A. Altshuler, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design since February 2005 (and acting dean for several months before that), announced on October 23 that he would step down at the end of the academic year, or whenever a successor can assume the post. During his deanship, Altshuler has boosted financial aid and increased junior faculty salaries. An urban planner, he previously founded the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, both at the Kennedy School of Government; he has been a member of both schools’ faculties since 1988. Altshuler has been deeply involved in planning for campus development in Allston. President Derek Bok, working with a faculty advisory group, will identify decanal candidates to be considered by the next Harvard president. Searches are also under way for candidates for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School deanships.

Asian Accessions

A major collection that includes three Japanese Buddhist sculptures and more than 300 early Chinese ceramics has been given to the permanent collection of the Sackler Museum’s department of Asian art by Walter C. Sedgwick ’69 and the Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation. Shown here is an eighth-century Tang dynasty earthenware monster mask.
Photograph by Photographic Services © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

 

University Professor

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Harvard News Office

Henry Louis Gates Jr., chair of the department of African and African American studies from 1991 to 2006, is now Fletcher University Professor. In announcing the appointment on October 23, President Derek Bok cited Gates for taking “a field of study that, years ago, was floundering at Harvard and transform[ing] it into the leading department of its kind.” A literary scholar, Gates has been a MacArthur Fellow and has presented the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecture; he recently coedited an annotated version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Gates succeeds Cornel West, the first holder of the chair, who departed Harvard for Princeton in 2002.


Capital Campaigners

Universities’ rush for resources—for science, undergraduate education, international work, and financial aid—has intensified. In addition to Yale’s $3-billion capital campaign and Columbia’s $4-billion fund drive (see Brevia, November-December 2006, page 73), the University of Virginia announced a $3-billion campaign in late September, Stanford raised the ante with a $4.3-billion drive shortly thereafter, and Cornell chimed in with a $4-billion effort announced October 26. Brown ($1.4 billion) and Dartmouth ($1.3 billion) are in the middle of their own fundraisings, and the University of Pennsylvania is expected to launch its own effort publicly later in the year. Duke, without undertaking a formal campaign, published a strategic plan directing the investment of $1.3 billion atop expected operating budgets to recruit and support faculty, expand programs from global health to medical imaging, and expand arts programs and facilities. Harvard’s next campaign will no doubt be prominent on its next president’s agenda.

Radcliffe Gym Reborn

Continuing the physical transformation of the Radcliffe Institute, the former gymnasium has been totally renovated to create a central gathering place where the institute’s fellows and others can conduct seminars, make and hear presentations, confer on their research, and attend speeches by visitors. The new facility opened last June. With Harvard College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences admissions relocated from Byerly Hall (to Agassiz House, 86 Brattle Street, and Holyoke Center), the next step will be creating offices for all the institute fellows, who are now located away from the campus; that work is scheduled to be completed by the autumn of 2008.
Photograph by Richard Mandelkorn

 

Public-Affairs Post

Alan J. Stone
Justin Ide / Harvard News Office

Vice president for government, community, and public affairs Alan J. Stone, who came to Harvard from Columbia in 2001, announced on November 8 that he would step down at the end of the academic year. Locally, he directed the University’s relations with Cambridge and Boston during a period of extensive construction of University housing and scientific buildings at the edge of the existing campus. Meanwhile, work advanced toward the submittal to Boston of the master plan for Allston development and construction of the first science building there. President Derek Bok cited Stone’s “professionalism, collegiality, and care” in carrying out a broad portfolio of responsibilities.





Nota Bene

Hedge-fund fixtures. Eliot University Professor Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006, has joined D.E. Shaw & Co., a hedge-fund manager, as a part-time managing director, working on “strategic initiatives” and “high-level portfolio management activities.” At the same time, another former Secretary of the Treasury, John W. Snow, became chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, also a hedge-fund company. Both bring to their new positions broad perspective on economic issues and on government at a time when more oversight of hedge funds is under discussion in Washington.

 

Exemplary ethicist. Whitehead professor of political philosophy Dennis F. Thompson, founding director of the University-wide center for academic work on ethics, will step down at the end of the academic year, concluding two decades of service. The Safra Foundation Center for Ethics (www.ethics.harvard.edu) now supports graduate-student and faculty fellowships, curriculum development, and public programs.

Helen Molesworth
Harvard University Art Museums

 

Contemporary curator. With the arrival of Helen Molesworth, the Harvard University Art Museums gained their first full-time curator of contemporary art since the department of modern and contemporary art was established in 1997. She had been chief curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.


Post-HIID demotion. Economist Andrei Shleifer, whose advisory work on restructuring the Russian economy for the Harvard Institute for International Development resulted in a personal $2-million settlement with the federal government and a $26.5-million University settlement [see “Russia Case (and Dust) Settle,” November-December 2005, page 59], has lost his endowed chair. The former Jones professor of economics is now professor of economics. Interim dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy R. Knowles, who had appointed Shleifer to the named chair, took the disciplinary action following an investigation by the faculty’s Committee on Professional Conduct. As is the norm in such cases, no further information was released.

Kevin Starr
Irene Fertik


John Hope Franklin
Duke University Photography
Ying-shih Yu
Taylor Photo

Miscellany. A new Harvard China Fund will be a source of venture capital for academic initiatives involving University people studying China, working there, or engaging colleagues from that country. It will be overseen by Geisinger professor of history William C. Kirby, director of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research.…Kevin Starr, Ph.D. ’69, historian of California, and classicist Mary Lefkowitz, Ph.D. ’61, BF ’73, of Massachusetts, were honored with the National Humanities Medal in a White House ceremony on November 9. Erich Kunzel Jr., G ’58, of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, was named a National Arts Medalist.…The Library of Congress has named John Hope Franklin, Ph.D. ’41, LL.D. ’81, an emeritus professor of history at Duke, and Ying-shih Yu, Ph.D. ’62, an emeritus professor of history and Chinese studies at Princeton, the cowinners of the $1-million Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity.… Gurney professor of history Roy P. Mottahedeh has been appointed director of the new University-wide Islamic studies program.…The National Book Foundation conferred a lifetime achievement award on poet Adrienne Rich ’51, Litt.D. ’90, in November. It also honored M.T. Anderson ’91 with the National Book Award for young people’s literature for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party, and, posthumously, Barbara (Zimmerman) Epstein ’49. Epstein shared the foundation’s Literarian Award for outstanding service to the American literary community with her longtime collaborator, Robert Silvers, with whom she co-founded and edited the New York Review of Books.