Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

May-June 2014

Karen Gordon Mills and Kenneth I. Chenault

Karen Gordon Mills and Kenneth I. Chenault

Photographs courtesy of Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

The Corporation Replenished

Kenneth I. Chenault, J.D. ’76, and Karen Gordon Mills ’75, M.B.A. ’77, have been elected members of the Harvard Corporation, the senior governing board, effective July 1. They succeed retiring members Robert D. Reischauer ’63, who is the senior fellow, and Robert E. Rubin ’60, LL.D. ’01, whose service concludes at the end of the academic year. Chenault is chairman and chief executive officer of American Express Company. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he has served on Harvard Law School’s visiting committee and is a member of the Committee on University Resources (COUR), Harvard’s senior fundraising advisory group. A member of diverse nonprofit boards and advisory councils, he is also a director of IBM and Procter & Gamble. Kenneth and Kathryn Cassell Chenault’s son Kenneth graduated from the College in 2012; son Kevin is a senior. Mills was administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013, and is currently a fellow at the Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School. A private-equity executive, she has served on diverse corporate boards, and was a member of the Board of Overseers, the junior governing board, from 1999 to 2005, and a Radcliffe College trustee from 1985 to 1993. She is married to Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College; they have three sons, including George, a Harvard junior.

Teaching Spaces in Allston

A School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) task force has outlined parameters for the teaching and common spaces that will be purpose-built in Allston, where a substantial portion of the school is expected to be relocated, in new quarters—a principal priority of The Harvard Campaign. The SEAS January white paper envisions highly flexible teaching spaces and learning laboratories—to the point of discouraging fixed classrooms with permanent furnishings. In a similar vein, the task force recommends consumer-grade communications and media technology, rather than more expensive equipment that might be rendered obsolete rapidly, with the savings applied to rapid refreshing as warranted. The paper also emphasizes the importance of making the building transparent, so it readily appears to passersby as an engineering campus within a liberal-arts university. For a full report on the principles and recommendations, and what they suggest about teaching at Harvard generally, see http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/02/envisioning-science-and-engineering-in-allston.

Reshaping the Square

A rare bit of new construction is under way in Harvard Square. Developer Richard Friedman has razed the frame building at 114 Mount Auburn Street, and will construct an eight-story, 70,000-square-foot office building (the space is reportedly fully leased to the University) with first-floor restaurant and retail space. He will also renovate the brick Conductor’s Building across a narrow roadway, for restaurant or similar use. The project will in effect clean up the view from the Charles Hotel, which Friedman built previously.

Author Honorands

Three of the five Harvard affiliates nominated as finalists for National Book Critics Circle awards (see Brevia, March-April, page 22) were named winners in mid March: Amy Wilentz ’76, for Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti (autobiography); Leo Damrosch, Bernbaum professor of literature emeritus, for Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World (biography); and Frank Bidart, A.M. ’67, for Metaphysical Dog (poetry).

Ceramics Center 

The Office for the Arts inaugurated a new ceramics center at 224 Western Avenue in Allston in late February. It replaces a prior facility, located across the street, on a site being redeveloped for other University uses.

 

Nota Bene

The new class’s term tab. The College announced that tuition, room, board, and fees for the 2014-15 academic year will be $58,607, up 3.9 percent ($2,200) from $56,407 this year, and a slight acceleration from the 3.5 percent increase imposed in the prior year. Yale increased its undergraduate term bill 4 percent, to $59,800; Brown imposed a 3.8 percent increase, to $59,428. The $60,000 undergraduate year looms in the immediate future.

The new class. Despite the rising price, demand remains strong: the College offered admission to 2,023 students (including 992 of the 4,692 who sought early-action decisions, as previously announced), from a total candidate pool of 34,295—down marginally from 35,023 applicants last year. The overall admission rate therefore crept up one-tenth of a point, to 5.9 percent. Stanford apparently recorded the most punishing admission statistics, with a record 42,167 undergraduate applications (up 9 percent from the prior year) and 2,138 acceptances: a mere 5.1 percent. Yale admitted 6.3 percent of applicants, and Princeton 7.3 percent.

Miscellany. Lane MacDonald ’88, recently appointed managing director for private equity at Harvard Management Company (HMC), which invests the endowment (see Brevia, January-February, page 30), departed in February to become director of the personal wealth-management firm for Fidelity Investments chairman Edward C. Johnson III ’54. HMC announced that Richard Hall ’90, who was most recently at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, will assume the post.…Penguin Books, India, has withdrawn from publication and pulped copies of The Hindus: An Alternative History, by Wendy Doniger ’62, Ph.D. ’68, Litt.D. ’09, Eliade Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and a foremost scholar of Hinduism. In a New York Times essay, Doniger wrote of the decision, “My case has helped highlight the extent to which Hindu fundamentalists…now dominate the political discourse in India,” an issue in the current national election campaign.…The charitable foundation of Sumner M. Redstone ’44, LL.B. ’47, who recently gave $10 million to Harvard Law School, has donated $30 million to George Washington University’s School of Public Health.…Stanford has approved a new joint concentration in computer science and humanities, with either English or music tracks, similar to Carnegie Mellon’s existing bachelor of computer sciences and arts degree, which links to architecture, art, design, drama, or music.