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In this issue's John Harvard's Journal:
The Art of Ownership - Harvard Portrait: Merle Bicknell - Faster Track on Financial Aid - Nesson: Investigate the System - The East is Crimson - Scenes from the Sidewalk - Cooked Books: Costly Rx for Libraries - Digital Union of Images Will Break Boundaries - The Name Game - Russia Revisited - The Art and Science of Deaning - Brevia - The Undergraduate: Hurting Hands - Sports

Photograph by Flint Born

Merle Bicknell

Merle Bicknell is manager of Harvard Yard, the hub of the Hub of the Universe. Most of what occurs there happens in brain or heart and is not manageable; Bicknell is concerned with the macro-usages and health of the Yard's facilities and grounds. She is poised now, for instance, to marshal a force of workers to ready Yard dormitories for the hubbub of Commencement, to speed departing freshmen, repair the damage they have done to their habitations, spiff things up, and put out soap dishes for the oncoming twenty-fifth-reunion class. Her responsibilities are various. Would the Reverend Mr. Gomes like a nice sugar maple to replace the great, departed elm at the corner of Memorial Church? Will faculty in the renovated Boylston Hall have adequate courier service? Bicknell oversees Harvard Yard Operations, comprising a staff of 10, with command central in the basement of Weld Hall. Her work, full of logistics and communication with numerous constituencies, is not always confined to the Yard. A long-term project she is completing will replace confusingly dissimilar emergency telephones throughout the campus with a standard model--chosen, placed, and marked only after many consultations. Short-lived phenomena concern her, too. If a pipe breaks at 3 a.m., her beeper at home in Boston is likely to go off. She has a 10-month-old son, her first child, and may be up anyway. For recreation, she bikes, hikes, and plays basketball. The job she had before this one was managing the New England Spring Flower Show, installing rainforests and the like. "I never thought I'd be involved," she says, "with pahking cahs in Hahvahd Yahd."


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Harvard Magazine


Harvard Magazine (current issue)