The Senior Alumni

Ruth Rabb and Leon Starr
Ruth Rabb and Leon Starr
Photographs by Jim Harrison

The oldest graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe present at Commencement were 99-year-old Ruth Rabb ’37, of New York City, and Leon Starr ’40, of Boston, due to turn 98 in July. Both were recognized during the afternoon ceremony by Harvard Alumni Association president Paul Choi ’86, J.D. ’89. Starr, whose seventy-fifth reunion was last year, was accompanied by his wife, Jacqueline. “There are a lot more women here than when I was at college,” he said, adding that the custom in his day, of having Harvard professors teach the men and then walk over to Radcliffe College to teach the women separately, “was cuckoo”; they should have “had the classes together.” Rabb, seated a few chairs away beside her daughter, Emily Livingston (wife of David Livingston ’61), said she was “very pleased to be a ’Cliffie,” although “it was awful in my day that we were not recognized.” Harvard does seem to run in the family: her late husband was Maxwell Rabb ’32, J.D. ’35, her other children include Bruce Rabb ’63 and Priscilla Rabb Ayres, M.B.A. ’69, and her grandson is Jeremy Maltby ’90. Rabb was glad when, in 2000, the College began granting only Harvard degrees, she added, “because now we’re on the same playing field.”

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