Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

September-October 2011


Marc Hauser Resigns

Professor of psychology Marc Hauser, who was found “solely responsible” for eight counts of scientific misconduct last year, resigned effective August 1, following a year on leave. As previously reported (“Marc Hauser’s Return,”  July-August, page 58), he had been denied permission to teach during the new academic year. The case remains under federal investigation.

Greened Construction

In mid summer, as construction concluded on the Law School’s massive Northwest Corner building (combining new classrooms, student organization and social space, and offices for myriad clinical programs), its Indiana limestone façade along Massachusetts Avenue was lushly greened with plantings of honeylocust and gingko trees; lacecap hydrangeas, pieris, enkianthus, daphne, and other shrubs; and bedded perennials including coreopsis, sedum, daylilies, anemones, and more: an invitation to passersby and scholars alike to come and admire the flowers, especially after the building’s dedication, scheduled for next April.

 

75, in the 375th

Harvard Kennedy School celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary during the University’s 375th-anniversary year. Commemorative events were scheduled to begin in late August, as students arrived, with a day of service; to include events on October 14, coinciding with Harvard’s community festivities; and to feature a series of addresses by alumni who are now heads of state. 

 

Maternal Health Checklist

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a $14.1-million grant to Harvard School of Public Health to test the effectiveness of a World Health Organization checklist-based system for reducing deaths related to childbirth and improving the health of mothers and infants. The four-year BetterBirth trial is scheduled for 120 hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, India. It will be led by Atul Gawande, associate professor in health policy and management and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who has written widely on the subject, including a book titled The Checklist Manifesto, and Jonathan Spector, a research associate at the school and a neonatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. (Gawande was profiled in “The Unlikely Writer,” this magazine’s September-October 2009 cover story, page 30).

 

Endowment Preview

Harvard Management Company won’t report fiscal year 2011 (ended June 30) results until September—but they should be positive, perhaps strongly so, since they preceded the August crash. Through May 31, the smaller but sophisticated University of Virginia Investment Management Company reported returns of 21.4 percent. Cornell projected a 17.2 percent rate of return. And two state pension funds, Massachusetts and the huge California Public Employees’ Retirement System, reported preliminary 22.3 percent and 20.7 percent annual returns, respectively, bolstered by strong stock markets and better results for private-equity, real-estate, and some natural-resources assets—all important categories for Harvard’s portfolio managers.

 

Fay House

Just after Commencement, the Radcliffe Institute began renovating Fay House, its administrative offices. (Staff have decamped to a cluster of Institute-owned offices up Concord Avenue for the duration.) When the work is done, Radcliffe will have modernized Schlesinger Library, the former gym (now a conference center), and Byerly Hall—where the Fellows have offices and shared meeting spaces. Agassiz Theatre updates remain on tap.

 

At Other Schools

The “Yale Tomorrow” campaign concluded on June 30, having raised $3.88 billion—above both the initial $3-billion goal and a revised $3.5 billion target. Separately, Henry A. Kissinger ’50, Ph.D. ’54—the former U.S. secretary of state and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who served on the Harvard faculty from 1954 to 1971—donated his papers to Yale; the announcement noted that he has taught there, and that both his children attended Yale College.…Duke and Stanford are both pursuing major investments in the humanities. The former received a $6-million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for “Humanities Writ Large,” a program involving undergraduate research, interdisciplinary study, humanities “labs,” and new faculty appointments. Stanford is committing $4 million to scholarships for outstanding humanities doctoral candidates. Stanford has also created a “Faculty College” to develop innovative undergraduate courses, with an emphasis on creative pedagogy. It continues to pursue its application to build a science and technology campus in New York City, which has pledged prime public land and $100 million for infrastructure for the winning applicant.

 

Promising Pipes

Photograph by Jon Chase / Harvard News Office

Installation of Fisk Opus 139, the new organ for Memorial Church, began with the first delivery of components in late June. Although assembly will be completed by autumn, the “voicing” (tuning) of 3,000-plus pipes is expected to take several months. The new instrument is scheduled to debut on Easter Sunday. For more details, see harvardmag.com/fisk-opus.

 

Nota Bene

A park for reading. Patrons of the Allston-Honan branch of the Boston Public Library have a new place to read and relax. The 1.7-acre Library Park, part of Harvard’s package of investments in neighborhood amenities in an area where it hopes to develop new campus facilities (see “Rethinking Allston” ), was dedicated in early July, greening a former industrial site. 

 

Pharmaceutical partnerships. Pfizer Inc. has established a Center for Therapeutic Innovation in Boston (complementing earlier centers established in San Francisco and New York), intending to invest $100 million during the next five years to pursue “translational” research with partners who may include scientists at the Medical School, the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, and Partners HealthCare, among other institutions. Future projects, overseen by a board of Pfizer and research-institution appointees, aim to put company and academic-medical scientists side-by-side to accelerate translation of basic science into possible therapies; Pfizer will have the first chance to license any discoveries. 

 

Miscellany. Gene Corbin, executive director of Phillips Brooks House Association for the past eight years, relinquished that position in August to become assistant dean of student life for public service, a new position responsible for all public-service initiatives in the College.…The Kennedy School’s George Borjas, Scrivner professor of economics and public policy, and economics professor Barry R. Chiswick have won the 2011 Institute for the Study of Labor’s €50,000 prize in labor economics for 2011, for their study of migration and its impact on labor markets and social security systems.…The College has announced that it will switch to Google’s Gmail as the engine for undergraduate e-mail accounts; the schools of design, divinity, and education already use the Gmail service.…Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg has been appointed executive director of Harvard Hillel, succeeding Bernard Steinberg (no relation).…David Jones ’92, M.D. ’97, Ph.D. ’01—who has been, simultaneously, assistant professor at MIT, a psychiatrist at Cambridge Hospital, and a lecturer in social medicine at Harvard—has been appointed Ackerman professor of the culture of medicine, a new joint chair in the department of the history of science and the Medical School’s department of global health and social medicine. The interdisciplinary position expands research in the cultural, historical, social, and ethical aspects of medicine.…A hybrid birch tree planted between Thayer Hall and Memorial Church by the Dalai Lama and President Drew Faust during the former’s visit to the University on April 30, 2009, did not survive last year’s severe New England winter; the Arnold Arboretum, which bred the Asian-North American hybrid, has been asked to supply a replacement.…The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has created a secondary field (a minor, in effect) in computational science and engineering for its graduate students, in response to rising demand to apply advanced computational methods across many disciplines.…Seeking to rein in technology spending, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced in late June that neither University nor faculty funds could be used to purchase tablets and associated data plans for staff use; faculty purchases remain eligible for funding.…Tiziana D’Angelo, a doctoral student in classical archaeology, has been awarded Phi Beta Kappa’s 2011 Sibley Fellowship in Greek studies, which carries a $20,000 stipend. She has participated in the excavation at Sardis, in Turkey, and is writing a dissertation on polychrome funerary wall paintings.

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From left, Presidents M. Roy Wilson, M.D. ’80, of Wayne State University and Lawrence S. Bacow of Harvard and Mary Kramer, director of the economic-development forum, speaking on higher education in Detroit on September 14.
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You Might Also Like:

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

Harvard Campaign raises $9.62 billion

H. Luke Shaefer directs the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions—now partnering with Harvard to address economic mobility in Detroit.
Photograph courtesy of Poverty Solutions/University of Michigan

Harvard partners with the University of Michigan

From left, Presidents M. Roy Wilson, M.D. ’80, of Wayne State University and Lawrence S. Bacow of Harvard and Mary Kramer, director of the economic-development forum, speaking on higher education in Detroit on September 14.
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow promotes Michigan initiatives