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|Commencement Day, 1996||Medical Dean|
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Commencement Day Articles
Duck Story · The Day Itself · Honoris Causa · Let There Be Awe
"Gone Outta Here" · Learning On Line · Commencement Confetti · The Return of the Obstinate
Members of the twenty-fifth reunion class will recall that on April 9, 1969, students seized University Hall, ejecting deans. The banner of Students for a Democratic Society flew from a pole thrust out a window of the faculty room. Police knocked heads next morning. Students went on strike.
|Drum major Catharine Hornby '97 and the hard-working Band lead children of twenty-fifth reunioners to the day's next events after lunch en famille at Eliot House on Wednesday. Overheard, a father to a fussy child: "If I'd complained every time I didn't get exactly what I wanted exactly when I wanted it, do you think Daddy would have gone to Harvard?"|
Ah, the memories. Alex Witchel wrote in the New York Times about attending the reunion with her husband, a member of the class of '71. After hearing Knowles speak, "we made our way to lunch," she wrote. "In the dining room, a friend of my husband's was overcome by nostalgia. 'The first time I dropped acid was here,' he said, looking around fondly."
Witchel's husband, Times columnist Frank Rich, wrote his own dispatch from Cambridge. "If you want to locate the epicenter of the boomer elite that so many Americans, especially those who despise Bill Clinton, love to hate, here we are," he wrote. "Lani Guinier was in our class; so was Franklin Raines, the President's next budget czar. So was Charles Schumer, the Clintonite Congressman from New York. And so were all manner of draft-dodging potheads. The number of classmates who avoided military service in Vietnam by opting for medical school alone could staff an urban hospital."
Protesting sixties students were opposing not just the Vietnam War, but also what Rich calls "a white male hammerlock on privilege." "In welcoming us back to Harvard this week, both Neil Rudenstine, the university's president, and Linda Wilson, the Radcliffe president, pointed approvingly to our once-incendiary goal and boasted of how much it had been met in the years since. While our class was 93 percent white, Harvard's class of '96 is 63 percent white, 20 percent Asian-American, 10 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic. While our class was almost 77 percent male, Harvard '96 is evenly divided by sex."
Rich concluded, "One need only look around a transformed American institution like Harvard to see the tough and important battles that our obstinate generation decisively won."
|After the reunion class as a whole had its photograph taken on the steps of Widener, this jolly subset posed for the camera—former members of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.
Prominent classmates, in addition to those cited by Rich, include the founder of Sam Adams Beer, James Koch, J.D.-M.B.A. '78; astronaut Jerome Apt; high-tech guru Esther Dyson; the founder of Staples, Thomas Stemberg, M.B.A. '73; former U.S. figure skating champion John Misha Petkevich, M '80, G '81, who turned from the study of medicine and music to investment banking; the author of The Buddy Holly Story, John Goldrosen, who owned and operated a bookstore on Cape Cod for 15 years before entering Harvard Law School, from which he received the J.D. degree this June; one-time owner of the San Diego Padres and producer of The Cosby Show and Roseanne, Thomas Werner; playwright Christopher Durang; and Talking Heads keyboardist Jeremiah Harrison.
Trying to get a grip on themselves, some 570 members of the class of 1,200 men and 350 women filled out a 157-question questionnaire. Joseph P. Kahn '71, a staff writer at the Boston Globe, reported the results in his paper: "The press-stopping news?
|Lunch at Eliot House for 650 classmates, 450 spouses, and 600 children. That's a lot of California seafood salad and roast beef roll-ups. |
The median net worth of respondents is $831,000, and they earn $124,000 a year. Job security is a major concern of 17.9 percent of the group and a concern, but a minor one, of 44.7 percent. Only .2 percent are unemployed. Doctors (17.5 percent) and lawyers (17.3 percent) make up more than a third of respondents. Asked their satisfaction with their careers, on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10, the group gave a response averaging 7.2. Other gleanings from the survey:
The men average 46.9 years of age, but a fifth of them plan to father children still. Columnist Kahn did himself become a father, for the second time, the week before Commencement. "I regret not seeing more of Harvard/Radcliffe classmates this week," Kahn wrote, "but I do plan to sit down and read my daughter Emma selected passages from our 25th-anniversary report. Her angle of repose-fists clenched, arms upthrust-should help her father in the midlife crisis department."
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