John Harvard's Journal
A Dean’s Departure
Jay O. Light, who was appointed interim dean of Harvard Business School (HBS) in August 2005 and dean the following April, announced on December 2 that he will step down from the post and retire from the faculty at the end of this academic year. Light, who is Baker professor of business administration, joined the faculty in 1969. As dean, he oversaw completion of HBS’s $600-million capital campaign, launched in 2002; it increased fellowships significantly, endowed the doctoral program, funded a new teaching and learning center, and enabled the school to overhaul and expand Baker Library, among other capital projects. HBS’s global presence has extended to a research office in Mumbai (opened in 2006) and an HBS-University center in Shanghai (2008). Light led HBS through its centennial celebration in the fall of 2008, during the height of the world financial crisis; since then, faculty members have been making concerted efforts to adapt the school’s curriculum and teaching to reflect new material on risk, financial regulation, and changes in the capital markets. A specialist in finance and asset management, Light is a director of Harvard Management Company, which invests the endowment; he will continue in that and other nonprofit roles. President Drew Faust hailed Light as “an exemplary leader in a school dedicated to the understanding and practice of leadership,” and said she would move quickly to appoint a search committee to identify his successor.
Rhodes and Marshall Roster
Five Harvard students and recent graduates have been awarded Rhodes scholarships: Roxanne E. Bras ’09, an economics concentrator from Celebration, Florida; Darryl W. Finkton ’10, a neurobiology concentrator from Indianapolis; Jean A. Junior ’08, a sociology concentrator from Troy, Michigan; Eva Z. Lam ’10, a social studies concentrator from Milwaukee; and Grace Tiao ’08, an English concentrator from Marietta, Georgia. Samuel Bjork ’09 (’10), a chemistry concentrator from Minneapolis, was awarded a Marshall Scholarship; he served as one of this magazine’s Berta Greenwald Ledecky Undergraduate Fellows during the 2007-2008 academic year.
The University celebrated “Public Service Week” (October 19-25), with events ranging from an Institute of Politics forum with David Axelrod (adviser to President Barack Obama, J.D. ’91), a speech by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick ’78, J.D. ’82, and a conversation between President Drew Faust and Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan ’87, M.Arch.-M.P.A. ’95, to job-counseling and -recruiting sessions in various professional schools. A new website, http://service.harvard.edu, gathers information on such activities.
Where Rabbit Rests
Houghton Library has acquired the personal papers of literary polymath John Updike ’54, Litt.D. ’92, including manuscripts, books, photographs, correspondence, artwork, and other material. Separately, the National Library of China has agreed to help underwrite the digitization of the entire 51,500-volume collection of rare Chinese books housed in the Harvard-Yenching Library. The six-year project will make their contents available to scholars worldwide, while reducing wear and tear on the works themselves.
The University has announced its intent to buy half of the electricity generated by the Stetson Wind II facility, to be developed in Danforth, Maine, by First Wind. The project, encompassing 17 turbines, each rated at 1.5-megawatt capacity, is scheduled to come on line in the middle of 2010. According to Harvard’s announcement, the power from the contract, which runs for 15 years, equals more than 10 percent of the electricity consumed on the Cambridge and Allston campuses (247 million kilowatt hours in 2008).
Changing of the (House) Guard
During the Thanksgiving break, the leaders of two undergraduate Houses announced that they would step down at the end of the academic year. Lino Pertile, Pescosolido professor of Romance languages and literatures and master of Eliot House, and Anna Bensted, a radio producer who is co-master, will conclude a decade of service. Jay M. Harris, Wolfson professor of Jewish studies and master of Cabot House, and co-master Cheryl L. Harris, a school psychologist, will step down, too, after seven years. Jay Harris is also dean for undergraduate education, in which capacity he oversees the introduction of the new General Education curriculum, a particularly heavy responsibility at present.
Doomed to Repeat Ourselves
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Baker Library Historical Collections
In the spirit of the times, Baker Library Historical Collections at Harvard Business School has mounted an exhibition titled Bubbles, Panics, & Crashes: A Century of Financial Crises, 1830s-1930s (on display through May 3 and at www.library.hbs.edu/hc/crises). “Run on 19th Ward Bank,” undated, depicts a fate America has avoided in its latest panic, thanks to New Deal-era regulations and the current, massive infusions of federal funds to shore up financial institutions. But the fevered overdevelopment of housing and other real estate, particularly in Florida and the Southwest earlier in this decade, sadly has frequent precedents, as witness this September 14, 1925, Florida News “Real Estate Investors Guide”—documentation of the peak of that decade’s delusional real-estate bubble.
On Other Campuses
As Harvard considers how to adapt its library system to digital demands and diminished resources (see “Libraries on the Edge” and “‘Two Radically Different Worlds’”), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $385,000 to Columbia and Cornell to develop a potentially expansive collaboration between the two universities’ research libraries.…University of Chicago president Robert J. Zimmer has outlined plans for systematic, “gradual expansion of the faculty” during the next five years, and announced an 11-story, $114-million arts complex, encompassing theaters, galleries, classrooms, and studios.…Amherst, in the midst of a capital campaign, received anonymous unrestricted gifts of $100 million and $25 million.…And Yale faculty members have begun to populate its new scientific “West Campus,” establishing a microbial research institute at a 136-acre former pharmaceutical complex purchased in 2007. Cell-biology, genomics, and small-molecule screening facilities were expected to be operating by the end of 2009.
Faced with soaring student demand and more constrained finances, Harvard Law School has revised its support for student public-service work. The Public Service Initiative, launched in 2008, which waived third-year tuition for students who committed to spending five years in public-service work, will cover current commitments but not be offered to students enrolling this fall. Summer public-interest support will be offered for eight weeks of work during 2010, down from 10 weeks in the past. Dean Martha Minow said that financial-aid spending overall would increase $2.7 million. But limited offers of private employment, a surge of students pursuing public service, and a decline in endowment distributions have jointly forced the school to use its aid resources differently.
For Old Times’ Sake? Graduates who returned to campus on October 23-24 for the Harvard Alumni Association’s inaugural Harvard College Homecoming Weekend were invited to “enjoy a hot breakfast in their old House” ($9 per capita). But this was not just a stroll down memory lane: although budget cuts have limited current students to cold breakfasts in House dining rooms during the week, Saturday breakfast and Sunday brunch are still hot meals.
CIOs to Go. Dan Moriarty, Harvard’s chief information officer since 1999, left the position at the end of October; executive vice president Katie Lapp and provost Steven E. Hyman will lead the search for a successor. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is seeking a new CIO as well, so the positions will be coordinated as the University seeks ways to streamline its information-technology systems and to save costs.
A Century…and Change. Harvard Extension School having attained a landmark age (see “Extension School Centennial,” September-October 2009, page 47), it is considering updating its name. The proposed new title, the Harvard School of Continuing and Professional Studies, would recognize its dual mission of providing both liberal-arts and career-oriented courses and degree programs. If the Faculty of Arts and Sciences approves, the school will confer degrees such as the “Bachelor of Liberal Arts” and the “Master of Liberal Arts” and “Master of Professional Studies,” succeeding the current, but fusty, degrees “in extension studies.”
Medical Homecoming. Cardiologist Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, who was reportedly a candidate for the Harvard Medical School deanship in 2007 (she declined for family reasons), has now been appointed president and CEO of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the school’s major teaching affiliates effective January 1. Nabel did her internship and residency at the hospital; another resident was Gary J. Nabel ’75, M.D. ’79. Ph.D. ’82—now her husband.