Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

March-April 2013


Image courtesy of Samuels & Associates

Upsizing

Samuels & Associates, the Harvard-designated developer for Barry’s Corner (at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue) in Allston, in December filed its proposal for a residential and retail “commons” with 325 rental residences, 45,000 square feet of retail space, and parking. The plan calls for two new streets within the 2.67-acre site, and 3,600 square feet of new public open space. The tallest building would rise seven to nine stories, down from an original 11-story concept that was met with criticism from the local community. If the plan is approved, construction could begin this fall, with occupancy in about two years. For further details, see http://harvardmag.com/barrys-corner.

Downsizing

The University has agreed to sell the Arsenal on the Charles office complex, acquired in 2001 for $162.6 million. When it was purchased, the Watertown site was seen as a way of accommodating academic programs whose growth was constrained by the protracted permitting and building process in Cambridge—and later, as potential swing space for tenants dislocated during the construction of the planned Allston campus. Both rationales changed, and Harvard made little use of the space beyond housing the offices of Harvard Business School’s publishing operation, which was already based at the Arsenal. The buyer is athenahealth, a fast-growing software firm, whose headquarters is in the Arsenal; the $168.5-million transaction is to close in the spring. The University declined to comment on prospective disposal of any other properties. For more information, see http://harvardmag.com/watertown-12.

Social Investing

Faced with student support for divestiture from the stocks of fossil-fuel companies, the University has announced plans to create a “social-choice fund” that would take special account of social-responsibility considerations. The investment vehicles will be selected and overseen by the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, and investment returns would be dedicated to supporting financial aid. It is scheduled to begin operating on July 1. Read a more detailed report at http://harvardmag.com/fossil-fuel.

Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office

Kathleen McCartney

Decanal Departure

Kathleen McCartney, who was appointed acting dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005, and dean the next year, will step down at the end of the academic year to assume the presidency of Smith College. McCartney, a scholar of early childhood development, led both the effort to establish a new doctoral program in educational leadership—aimed at training reformers who can transform American public schools—and the multidisciplinary overhaul of the school’s academic doctoral program. She has also served as a Harvard-appointed director of the edX online-learning venture.


DCE Dean

Huntington D. Lambert as been appointed dean of the Division of Continuing Education (DCE), effective in late April. Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean Michael D. Smith, making the announcement, emphasized that Lambert would “build on DCE’s efforts to extend [its] pedagogy online, partnering with HarvardX to grow the University’s digital footprint.” The new dean comes from a similar post at Colorado State University; previously, he founded and was interim CEO of that institution’s Global Campus, a fully online public university within the CSU system. It now serves more than 6,000 students. For a full report, see http://harvardmag.com/lambert-13.

Rhodes Encore—and More

Adding to the large crop of Rhodes Scholars previously announced (see Brevia, January-February, page 53), Harvardians garnered both of the awards available in Zimbabwe annually: Dalumuzi Mhlanga ’13, a social-studies concentrator from Mather House and Bulawayo; and Naseemah Mohamed ’12, a former Eliot House resident also from Bulawayo, who concentrated in social studies and African and African American studies. She is spending the year in India learning Indian classical dance on a Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship. Her sister, Shazrene Mohamed ’04, won a Rhodes of her own in 2004, making the Mohameds the first pair of sisters to win scholarships in Rhodes history.

Academic (and Other) Philanthropy

As Harvard gears up for the public launch of a capital campaign, other institutions remain active fundraisers. Mortimer B. Zuckerman, LL.M. ’62, of Boston Properties, who in 2004 funded a $10-million fellowship program to support Harvard business-, law- or medical-school students who wished to study in Harvard’s education, government, or public-health schools as well, has pledged $200 million to underwrite Columbia University’s Mind Brain Behavior Institute, a multidisciplinary center with 65 faculty members.…New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, M.B.A. ’66, has given his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, $350 million to fund interdisciplinary research and financial aid—bringing his total support for the school to $1.1 billion. Harvard Business School’s Bloomberg Center, reflecting his support, bears his name.…The University of Illinois College of Engineering received a $100-million pledge from the Grainger Foundation; it will pay for 35 endowed professorships focused on bioengineering and “big data” computation, plus scholarships and building renovation.…Eugene Lang, a Swarthmore alumnus, gave that school $50 million, the largest gift in its history, to invest in engineering and science.…UCLA, previously the recipient of a $200-million naming gift from entertainment executive David Geffen for its medical school, received another $100 million from him, for student scholarships at the school.…Separately, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ’07, who in 2010 donated $100 million of stock to support education reform in Newark, New Jersey, has donated nearly a half-billion dollars of stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Stanford’s Humanities Hopes

Stanford is underwriting experiments meant to overhaul graduate education in the humanities. It will provide departments with additional, year-round fellowship funding for doctoral students so they can finish their training in five years—down from a current average of seven years there, and longer at other institutions. Among the measures proposed are changes in curriculum to align courses with qualifying exams and to accelerate progress toward the dissertation. It is also entertaining proposals for innovative programs to prepare doctoral students for various careers.

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Barry Mazur

Photograph by Jon Chase/Harvard News Office

Tom Everett

Nota Bene

Preeminent mathematician. President Barack Obama has named Gade University Professor Barry Mazur one of 12 recipients of the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for scientists and mathematicians. Mazur is a prominent number theorist; his book Imagining Numbers was reviewed in the magazine’s January-February 2004 issue (page 16).

Good chemistry. Erin O’Shea, Mangelsdorf professor of molecular and cellular biology and chemistry and chemical biology, and co-head of the undergraduate concentration in chemical and physical biology, is relinquishing her teaching to become vice president and chief scientific officer of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She will be responsible for overseeing the institute’s investigator program—which funds leading scientists across the country—and programs to support young researchers and to foster interdisciplinary research.

Band goodbye. Tom Everett, director of Harvard Bands (the University Band, Harvard Wind Ensemble, and Harvard Jazz Bands) since 1971, retired in February. His long career will be celebrated in a Jazz Bands concert in Sanders Theatre on April 13, featuring two of his protégés as guest artists: saxophonists Joshua Redman ’91 and Don Braden ’85. For a full report, see http://harvardmag.com/tom-everett.

Divinity gift. Susan Shallcross Swartz and her husband, James R. Swartz ’64, have given Harvard Divinity School $10 million, one of the largest gifts in its history, to establish the Susan Shallcross Swartz Endowment for Christian Studies .

Winter whimsy. The College’s January “Wintersession” programs this year offered 150 activities and events, ranging from field trips and immersive engineering and arts short courses to “Golf Simulator: Play Pebble Beach!” “Ethnic Cooking!” and chair massages.

Miscellany. Harvard Business School, which operates a global network of research centers to facilitate faculty case-writing (with outposts in Buenos Aires, Paris, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo), is establishing a new one in Istanbul.… Eliot University Professor Lawrence H. Summers, a past Harvard president and U.S. Treasury secretary, will co-chair a growth and competitiveness project at the Center for American Progress, where he will also be a distinguished senior fellow. It aims to find ways to spur more widely shared economic growth.…The College has appointed Stephen Lassonde as dean of student life, effective in late March. He has been deputy dean of the college at Brown, and dean of Calhoun College (one of the undergraduate Houses) and assistant dean at Yale. He succeeds Suzy Nelson, who left last summer to become dean of the college at Colgate.…The athletics department announced in early January that men’s soccer coach Carl Junot has resigned after three seasons; during 2012, the team finished last in the Ivy League.

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