Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

January-February 2011

FOGG FACADE. The Fogg Art Museum renovation, seen in December, has now reduced the building to a three-sided shell, into which Renzo Piano’s new design for expanded  facilities will be fitted.

FOGG FACADE. The Fogg Art Museum renovation, seen in December, has now reduced the building to a three-sided shell, into which Renzo Piano’s new design for expanded facilities will be fitted.

Courtesy of Harvard Business School

Ratan Tata

B-School Building Boomlet

Although other University construction in Allston has been suspended, Harvard Business School (HBS) announced on October 14 that it would build a large new executive-education facility on the lawn at the eastern edge of campus facing Soldiers Field Road. Dean Nitin Nohria and Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino were joined by Ratan Tata, a 1975 graduate of the school’s Advanced Management Program and chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., whose $50-million naming gift (the largest from an international donor in HBS history) will underwrite about half of the projected cost; construction may begin next spring, for occupancy in 2013. Simultaneously, Nohria announced that HBS would invest $15 million to $20 million to convert the vacant WGBH building, on Western Avenue, into the Harvard Innovation Lab, serving entrepreneurial professors and students from throughout Harvard, and ultimately, members of the wider community in Boston.

 

Stellar Scholars

Seniors Zachary M. Frankel (of Brooklyn and Quincy House, a physics and mathematics concentrator); Daniel E. Lage (of Miami and Winthrop House, a history of science concentrator who expects to earn his A.B. and A.M. degrees in May); and Baltazar A. Zavala (of El Paso and Kirkland House, an engineering sciences and neurobiology concentrator) have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships. Zavala, a four-year walk-on football player for the Crimson, flew from Houston, the site of his Rhodes interview, the morning of Saturday, November 20, and dashed from Logan Airport to the Stadium to suit up for The Game, arriving at halftime. Ursinus College alumnus Aakash K. Shah (of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, now a first-year Harvard Medical School student), also won a Rhodes Scholarship. Seniors Kenzie Bok (of Boston and Pforzheimer House), a history concentrator, and Jonathan Walsh (of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Lowell House), a government concentrator, have been awarded Marshall Scholarships. 

 

Primary-Care Physicians

Harvard Medical School has established a Center for Primary Care, following the recommendations of an academic advisory group and receipt of a $30-million anonymous gift. The center will assure that all students are better educated about primary-care systems, and support those who aim to pursue practice or research in the field. A director, who will hold an endowed chair--based in either the school’s department of health care policy or of global health and social medicine, with a secondary appointment in an affiliated hospital--will oversee efforts to convene experts worldwide to advance primary care. The center will also coordinate funding for scholarship on healthcare policy and innovation in systems of delivering primary care. 

 

Death to Debt

As the nation labors under trillions of dollars of excessive leverage, Harvard Business School’s Baker Library has mounted an exhibition entitled Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit. As the catalog observes, seeking credit was often seen in the pre-industrial West as “a sign of moral weakness,” and making a business of credit was “an enterprise suited only to the greedy and predatory.” Among the recurrent themes in early prints and engravings is “the death of credit,” sometimes depicted as a corpse. Here, “Crédit est Mort,” an early nineteenth-century French print, showing an artist, a musician, and a soldier (three “bad payers”) who have killed a fourth man, representing credit. The image stems from postings dating back to the Middle Ages--a warning from shop-, tavern-, and lodging-keepers that they discouraged customer requests for credit. The exhibition remains on display through June 3, and online at www.library.hb.edu/hc/credit.

Courtesy of the Center for Ethics

Lily Safra

Studying “Institutional Corruption”

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics announced in mid October that it had secured permanent funding for its graduate fellowships, and the resources necessary to underwrite the first five-year research project undertaken by its new Lab, under professor of law Lawrence Lessig, who became center director in 2009. A gift of $12.3 million from Lily Safra, who has continued Edmond Safra’s philanthropies since his death in 1999, enables the researchers to explore what Lessig calls “the causes and consequences of institutional corruption”: not violation of norms of right and wrong, but the effect on public institutions (Congress, auditing authorities, pharmaceutical regulators, medical educators) of depending on money from sources affected by their work.

 

Ivies’ Aid “Arms Race”

Inside Higher Education reported a “New Tactic in the Aid Arms Race”: Cornell has offered students admitted for next fall, who are also admitted to Harvard, financial support that matches the packages extended by Harvard (or any other Ivy); and Dartmouth athletics has posted a letter to football supporters promising to “eliminate the differential” in aid offers when an admitted athletic recruit is wooed with “a more favorable projection from an Ivy competitor.”

 

Nota Bene

Senior social scientist. Peter V. Marsden, Geisinger professor of sociology and a Harvard College Professor, has been named dean of social science--one of the substantive, divisional deanships within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences--effective January 1. A member of the faculty since 1987, he has twice chaired the sociology department. Marsden succeeds Lindsley professor of psychology Stephen M. Kosslyn, who has become director of Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.


Library leaders. Ann Baird Whiteside has been appointed librarian of the Graduate School of Design’s Loeb Library and assistant dean for information resources. Matthew J. Sheehy has been appointed director of the Harvard Depository, where more than one-third of the University’s 16 million library books reside. He had been acting director for reference and research services at the New York Public Library, where he oversaw that institution’s off-site storage facility (shared with Columbia and Princeton).

 

BGLT task force. Harvard College dean Evelynn M. Hammonds in early October formed a working group on bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender student life. The group was charged with recommending ways “to address the needs of BGLT students in a more systematic fashion” and is to review support for students who experience familial, peer, or cultural challenges resulting from their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It is expected to make recommendations to the dean during the spring.

 

Knowles acknowledged. In recognition of Jeremy R. Knowles, the eminent chemist and late dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a seminar room at Wadham College, at Oxford University, was named in his honor in a ceremony held on September 30, 2010. Knowles was a fellow at Wadham from 1962 to 1974, and then an honorary fellow.

 

Courtesy of Xiaowei Zhuang

Xiaowei Zhuang

Courtesy of Simon Dove

Simon Dove

Special scientists: Six senior faculty members have won Transformative Research Project Awards from the National Institutes of Health, recognizing their “truly daring” approaches to advancing innovative science: Mallinckrodt professor of chemistry and chemical biology Sunney Xie and professor of chemistry and chem-ical biology and of physics Xiaowei Zhuang, for work on protein function in the cell (see “Shedding Light on Life,” May-June 2008, page 40); assistant professor of stem cell and regenerative biology and of surgery Paola Arlotta, associate professor of pathology J. Keith Joung, and Junior Fellow Feng Zhang, for work on nervous-system regeneration; and assistant professor of pediatrics Simon Dove, for work on nanoRNAs. Separately, New Innovators Awards, which support junior scientists early in their careers, were conferred on assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics Adam Cohen; assistant professor of systems biology Peng Yin; assistant professor of neurobiology Sandeep Robert Datta; instructor in surgery Nathalie Agar; and instructor in dermatology Conor Evans.

 

Miscellany. Ted Mayer, who became director of dining services in 1997, has been promoted to assistant vice president for hospitality and dining services. He oversees 14 undergraduate dining halls, a dozen retail-dining units, catering, and the Faculty Club.…Jeffrey R. Williams ’78, M.B.A. ’82, who was president of the Shenzhen Development Bank from 2004 to 2006, has been named executive director of the Harvard Center Shanghai (see “Global Reach,” May-June 2010, page 51). There, he will oversee Business School executive-education partnerships, faculty research, student internships, and Harvard China Fund ventures.…The Committee on African Studies (www.africa.harvard.edu) has been recognized as a national resource center by the U.S. Department of Education; it is eligible for $2.5 million to support travel, programs, and outreach during the next four years.…The Radcliffe Institute has appointed Alison Franklin ’90 director of communications. A former press secretary and political-campaign veteran, she was most recently director of communications for City Year.…Anthony P. Monaco, Ph.D. ’87, M.D. ’88, a neuroscientist and geneticist who is pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Oxford, has been named the thirteenth president of Tufts University, effective next summer. 

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Stephen M. Kosslyn, of Minerva, has pioneered in applying the science of learning to design a new core curriculum and technologically based pedagogy.
Photograph by Harvard Magazine/JSR

Harvard teaching learning agenda

Brian K. Lee
Photograph by Rob Greer

Brian K. Lee Harvard fundraising leader

Smith Campus Center, one of the tangible results of The Harvard Campaign
Photograph by Jim Harrison

Harvard Campaign raises $9.62 billion