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Commencement 2002

Commencement Confetti

 
An omnium-gatherum of notes and statistics, vital and otherwise
C-Kal.25th.b

Courtesy Kevin A. "KAL" Kallaugher ’77

NEWS BLACKOUTS

Notwithstanding that Harvard is a place of free and open discussion, the class of 1977 declared its reunion symposiums off the record—a precedent so far as anyone can recall. This magazine reveals, however, that twenty-fifth reunioners— numbering among classmates the richest man in the world and some of his associates, one of whom, Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer ’77, of Redmond, Washington, was cochair of the class gift committee—formally considered 13 Weighty Subjects, ranging from biotechnology to the new world order to "How will Wall Street guide our destinies?" Unwilling to settle only for the symposiums, organizers invited classmates to 17 more-intimate "life dialogues" as well. These explored "creating meaningful community," "the evolution of our aspirations since graduation," "transmitting values to the next generation," and the like. Symposiast Kevin A. "KAL" Kallaugher ’77, editorial cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun and the Economist, who spoke on "drawing insight from the news— the creative world of the editorial cartoonist," did agree to speak, so to speak, for the record, kindly doing for this magazine the drawings at left and on page 67.

For their part, fiftieth-reunioners closed their symposiums to people unconnected to the class for fear of insufficient seating. Organizers had expected about 750 classmates and guests to attend the four-day reunion, but 950 signed up.

Barred from all this talk, members of the press wandered the campus aimlessly.

 

RADCLIFFE HONORS

The Captain Jonathan Fay Prize recognizes the senior who has produced the most outstanding imaginative work or piece of original research in any field. This year the Radcliffe Institute awarded two of the $5,000 prizes, to a woman and (for the first time) a man: history and literature concentrator Andrew Leren Lynn ’02, of Cabot House and Baltimore, for his thesis, "Reading Bartleby," and chemist Susie Yi Huang ’02, A.M. ’02, of Dunster House and Montgomery Township, New Jersey, chosen for her thesis, "Signal Interferences from Turbulent Spin Dynamics in Solution NMR."

At the Radcliffe Association’s annual luncheon in Radcliffe Yard on June 7, the weather still unkindly, Institute dean Drew Faust told the guests she found it thrilling "to look out at this vast sea of freezing faces" and thanked the Institute’s crew for staging the event, always challenging but especially so "in a swamp." The Radcliffe Medal, awarded annually by the Radcliffe Association to an individual whose life and work have had a significant impact on society, went to tennis legend Billie Jean King, who said of the meteorological situation, "It seems like Wimbledon, actually."

C_BARRETTE.LANDERS

Family affair: Thomas L. Barrette Jr. ’77, of the law firm Hale and Dorr, and spouse Renée M. Landers ’77, formerly of the law firm Ropes & Gray—both of Watertown, Massachusetts. Barrette was cochair of the twenty-fifth reunion. Landers was chief marshal. Moreover, she noted in her class report, one of her apple pies won second prize in a local contest last fall. Thomas L. Barrette Sr. ’52, M.B.A. ’54, of Osterville, Massachusetts, secretary of his class, was on hand with his spouse Commencement morning, attending his fiftieth reunion, but they bailed early on account of the weather.

In other father-son reunion news, the Divinity School presented its First Decade Award on June 5 to editor Robert Ellsberg ’77, Th.M. ’94, of Ossining, New York, son of Daniel ’52, Ph.D. ’63, of Washington, D.C., who showed the nation the Pentagon Papers.

Jim Harrison

 

STOP THE PRESSES

Just as President Lawrence H. Summers was telling seniors assembled in Memorial Church for their Baccalaureate service that they were "the most impressive, smartest, the best dressed, the nicest, the most honorable, the most extraordinary class to graduate during my tenure as president," just then, at 2:58 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, a feature story came over the Reuters news wire headlined, "Think Harvard’s elite? Try making it at Southwest." The story explained that although about one in 12 people seeking admission to the Harvard class of 2006 got in, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines expects this year to get 200,000 applications for 4,000 available jobs, which means that only one in 50 who aspire will succeed.

C_50THBAND

"The early 1950s may have been a golden age for band music at Harvard," says Frank Manheim ’52, of Fairfax, Virginia. "There were 58 people from my class alone in the Band." About a quarter of them showed up to perform in the class’s reunion concert at Sanders Theatre on June 3, among them Marlowe Sigal ’52, M.B.A. ’54, of Newton, Massachusetts, who has played in the Band every year since 1948, and the three above, from left, Lowell Beveridge ’52, of Brooklyn, Clinton E. Nangle ’52, of Citra, Florida, and Barry H. Bragen ’52, of Melrose, Massachusetts. The Bandies were led by Kurt Anderson, son of Leroy ’29, whose "Blue Tango" was on the hit parade in 1952. Laura J. Garwin ’77 appeared as expert guest soloist in his "Trumpeter’s Lullaby." Her day job is director of research affairs at Harvard’s Bauer Center for Genomics Research.

Jim Harrison

A BRIDGE CROSSED

At Agassiz House on June 2, the Sunday before the annual paroxysm in Tercentenary Theatre, the "Academic Achievement Celebration" of the Harvard Bridge to Learning and Literacy Program saluted the scholarship of cooks, custodians, and maintenance workers. From August through May, program participants get four hours of paid release time each week to learn English, computer skills, or the subjects they need to earn a high-school diploma. Yesenia Quezada, 40, a native of El Salvador and a member of the cleaning staff of the Museum of Natural History, addressed the gathering. "I can say that learning English has changed my life," she said.

C-MEM.CHURCH

The University awarded 6,409 degrees and 361 certificates, including 1,569 to students in the College, 91 percent of whom earned honors (see "Study Abroad, Honors at Home"). Above, many of the young worthies cram into Memorial Church for words to live by on Commencement morning from Rev. Peter J. Gomes. In life, said Gomes, "it’s not who you know…[long pause]…but whom."

Jim Harrison

THE FAITHLESS, AT MIT

In a June 7 commencement speech at MIT, World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, M.B.A. ’59, of Washington, D.C., told a cautionary tale that went like this:

I was in Georgia with a recent graduate in the field of development and agricultural technology. We visited a farmer in a field, and this rather confident young man, getting out of the car, went to the farmer and said to him, "If I can tell you how many sheep are in your field, will you give me one?"

The farmer responded, "Yes, I’ll be glad to."

My young graduate friend looked around and, with a quick review, said, "There are 873 sheep in your field and they’re healthy."

The farmer said, "That’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen. You’re correct. Take one."

My colleague bent down, picked up an animal, and had started walking to the car when the farmer said to him, "Sir, if I could tell you which university you went to, would you give it back?"

"Yes," said my colleague.

"You went to Harvard," said the farmer.

"You’re right. How did you know?"

"You picked up my dog."

C_RICK

University marshal Richard M. Hunt, who presides during formal Commencement exercises, has the distinction of being the only person to have served on both the Happy and SAD committees, those being, of course, the Harvard Alumni Association’s Committee for the Happy Observance of Commencement and the now-defunct president’s Committee on Seals, Arms, and Diplomas.

Jim Harrison
C-SHERIF.HORSE

The sheriffs of Suffolk and Middlesex Counties come to Commencement on horseback. James DiPaola of Middlesex, above, borne by Anna, has a speaking role at both start and finish—calling the meeting to order and adjourning it. He appears to relish this responsibility, pounding on the stage with his staff with great authority and speaking in a booming voice. A willful sheriff, he declines to stick to his script and instead roars out a dangling modifier: "As sheriff of Middlesex County, the meeting will be in order!" Each year indignant purists in the alumni body complain about this to the University marshal, who runs the morning exercises. The sheriff remains intractable.