Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

July-August 2010


Photograph by Jim Harrison

A Grand Finale

Jameson Marvin, formally director of choral activities at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges since 1978, retires at the end of this academic year. Familiar to freshmen from their first convocation, Marvin has conducted the Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. He is shown here conducting at the Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises in Sanders Theatre, on May 25.

 

Kathleen Dooher

Elena Kagan

Kagan for the Court

With Associate Justice John Paul Stevens’s announcement that he would retire from the Supreme Court, the students of the Harvard Law Record headlined the possibility that his successor would be either Elena Kagan, J.D. ’86, the school’s dean emerita and now Solicitor General of the United States, or her successor, Martha Minow, Smith professor of law. On May 10, President Barack Obama, J.D. ’91, made his choice from those and other candidates, nominating Kagan.

 

Jerry Bauer

Annette Gordon-Reed

Triple Titled

National Humanities Medal winner Annette Gordon-Reed, J.D. ’84, has been appointed professor of law, professor of history, and Pforzheimer professor at the Radcliffe Institute. (The latter position affords her four semesters of research fellowship at Radcliffe during her first five years at Harvard.) Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello (2008) won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She was a visiting professor of American legal history at the Law School during the fall 2009 term.

 

Classical Library of India

Complementing its Loeb Classical Library (Greek and Latin works); I Tatti Renaissance Library; and new Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, Harvard University Press will publish the Murty Classical Library of India, beginning in 2013. A $5.2-million gift from the Murty family will underwrite editions, with English translations facing the Indic-script versions, of classic works in Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Urdu, and other languages. Rohan Narayana Murty, a computer-science doctoral student in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, conceived the idea for the series in consultation with Sheldon Pollock, Ransford professor of Sanskrit and Indian studies at Columbia. After coming to Cambridge, Murty began attending classes on ancient Indian texts in religion and philosophy taught by Loeb associate professor of the humanities Parimal G. Patil. He discovered that his education before he studied at Cornell and Harvard had not plumbed India’s rich heritage, and that the Clay Sanskrit Library, published by New York University Press, was confined to just 56 volumes in that language. The new venture, with Pollock as general editor (as he was for the Clay Series), will be far broader and longer lasting. It will include digital distribution and, Murty hopes, low-cost editions to introduce the works to students in India and worldwide. His parents, Narayana Murty and Sudha Kulkarni Murty, live in Bangalore; Narayana Murty founded and chairs Infosys Technologies, the consulting and outsourcing firm. 

 

Global Health Instituted

Left to right: Susan Egan; Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office; Partners in Health

From left to right: Sue J. Goldie, David Cutler, Paul Farmer

On May 18, President Drew Faust, declaring global health “one of the highest priorities of my presidency,” put an interfaculty initiative in the field on a new footing as the Harvard Institute (formerly “Initiative”) for Global Health (HIGH). Lee professor of public health Sue J. Goldie, who also directs the center for health decision science at the Harvard School of Public Health, will be director. (For a report on her work to combat cervical cancer in the developing world, see “Medicine by Model,” July-August 2002, page 44.) Presley professor of global health and social medicine Paul Farmer--chair of the Medical School’s department of global health and social medicine, and co-founder of Partners in Health--will oversee medical education and physician training. He said, “Since global health is not a discipline, but rather a collection of problems,” it is urgent to “invest heavily in linking service to training and research” throughout the University. Eckstein professor of applied economics David Cutler, who had been HIGH’s interim director for the past year, will direct undergraduate and graduate education. (See the review of his Your Money or Your Life, on healthcare economics and policies, in the September-October 2004 issue, page 24.) For further information, see http://harvardmagazine.com/breaking-news/goldie-named-global-health-director.

 

Justin Ide/Harvard News Office

Bill Purcell

Silk Road Project

Yo-Yo Ma

Allston Updates

Bill Purcell, former mayor of Nashville, will step down from his position as director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics to work full time advising executive vice president Katie Lapp on Allston development. He was named to a three-person “work team” advising on strategies for the Allston community last December, when construction of science laboratories there was halted for financial reasons. Separately, as Harvard tries to lease properties it bought in Allston (given that they will not be razed soon), the Silk Road Project--run by cellist Yo-Yo Ma ’76, D.Mus. ’91--will relocate seven staff members from Rhode Island to 3,200 square feet of space in a University-owned building on North Harvard Street.

 

Nota Bene

J-term rejiggering. The College has announced that during the 2011 winter break (“J-term” in student, but not official, parlance), undergraduates will be allowed to return to campus on January 16, eight days before classes resume. During the 2010 break--the first created by the University’s revised academic calendar--only students with a demonstrated need (athletes in training, thesis writers, and a few others) were permitted in College housing throughout the closure. Student-initiated programs and College-organized social activities will be offered this time. The new arrangement may be a particular relief to parents.

 

Endowment evolution. Harvard Management Company (HMC) reported that its president and CEO, Jane L. Mendillo, earned $999,000 during 2008; she assumed the position on July 1 of that year. Given changes in reporting rules, the annual disclosure of portfolio managers’ compensation for 2009 will now come with the University’s tax filing for that year, next May. For further details on changes in HMC’s pay practices for its senior managers--including lessened compensation when endowment results are negative--and efforts to negotiate more favorable terms with external money managers, see harvardmag.com/hmc-pay-practices.

 

Jim Harrison

Christopher T. Walsh

Stellar scholars. Christopher T. Walsh, Kuhn professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, has been named co-winner of the Welch Award, one of the most prestigious honors for research in chemistry. He and MIT’s JoAnne Stubbe were recognized for work on enzymes. Walsh’s work has particular importance for research on antibiotics..…Perkins professor of mathematics emeritus John T. Tate ’46 has been awarded the Abel Prize for Mathematics, presented by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, for his “vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers.” The winner is chosen by an international committee of five fellow mathematicians.

 

Radcliffe’s Roster. The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has announced its 48 fellows for 2010-2011. Nearly one-quarter are Harvard faculty members: materials-science specialist Joanna Aizenberg, from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); Chinese historian Henrietta Harrison, FAS; Graduate School of Education professor Nancy E. Hill; historian of slavery Walter Johnson, FAS; professor of medicine Barbara B. Kahn; biological anthropologist Karen Kramer, FAS; contemporary art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty, FAS; public policy professor Jennifer S. Lerner, Kennedy School; cell biologist Joan Ruderman, Medical School; and Romance languages and literatures scholar Diana Sorensen, FAS.

 

Justin Ide/HNO

Diana Sorensen

Stephanie Mitchell/HNO

Ingrid Monson

Miscellany. Following her sabbatical leave at Radcliffe, Rothenberg professor of Romance languages and literatures Diana Sorensen, who is also professor of comparative literature, has agreed to serve as dean of arts and humanities for another two years; during her absence, Jones professor of African American music Ingrid Monson will be interim dean.…Harvard Kennedy School has established the Zombanakis professorship of the international financial system. It is named for international financial consultant Minos A. Zombanakis, M.P.A. ’56, A.M. ’57.…The College announced that about 76 percent of the 2,110 students admitted to the class of 2014 have accepted Harvard’s offer; 65 to 75 hopefuls are expected to be admitted from the waiting list.…The University and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers are negotiating on a contract to succeed the current one, which expires on June 30; beyond the economic terms, issues under discussion include layoffs and job security, and mutually beneficial cost savings.…Restaurant service at the Faculty Club was suspended for most of the spring following two outbreaks of norovirus among diners. 

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