Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

July-August 2012


Letters on E.O. Wilson, Senator Franken, dating data, Overseers, lecture lessons, softball, basketball, taxes, lilacs, and primate research

The College Pump

Mark Saltveit displays for the first (and last?) time the World Palindrome Championship trophy.

A World Palindrome Champion, a sleuthing architect, and Yo-Yo Ma on Leon Kirchner

The Classes

Harvard alumni may sign in to view class notes and obituaries.

Because of a printer’s error, some readers who should have received this section in the November-December 2015 issue did not. The missing section will be mailed to them shortly.


A view of <i>Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm,</i> a new exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Mollusks of amazing diversity—some deadly—are on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

In this Issue

Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig thinks American democracy requires a constitutional overhaul to counter the “economy of influence.”

Continuous campaigning and gridlocked governing in American politics

African Americans vote in Alabama in 1966, in the wake of the Voting Rights Act.

Voting rights and partisan practices in a highly contested election year

Study of a Red and Yellow Macaw <i>(Macrocercus aracanga),</i> now known as Scarlet Macaw <i>(Ara macao).</i> Watercolor over graphite on paper.

A bicentennial exhibition features the little-known, masterful animal artistry of Edward Lear.

For 15 years, William Francis Gibbs greeted the SS <i>United States</i> every time the liner he had designed arrived in New York City.

Brief life of America’s greatest naval architect: 1886-1967

Right Now

An imagined scene of a meeting between a Spanish expeditionary party and a group of indigenous South Americans.

James Robinson says that in the modern period, greedy leaders and institutional corruption, rather than geography, explain why some nations fail.

The Neo-carrel does triple duty as chair, laptop stand, and comfortable napping station.

An innovative course yields new products, services, and experiences that model the possible future of libraries.

This teenager regularly hurries from  his job to a local day-care center to  spend time with his son in his new role  as a father.

Kathryn Edin of Harvard Kennedy School explains why more and more American children are born out of wedlock.

New England Regional

Priscilla and Brett Donham live happily in a smaller, leaner domicile.

Downsizing gains popularity.

Tips for paring down and clearing out unwanted belongings

A closeup from the renovated Fishes Gallery at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

July-August 2012 calendar of events at Harvard

Casa B’s living wall of greenery sets a homegrown tone in the lower dining room.

Review of Casa B restaurant in Union Square, Somerville

John Harvard's Journal

Doctoral delight: new Ph.D.s Sung Hoon Kang, Kedron Thomas, and Rheana Juno Parrenas.

Moments for reflection and projection during the 361st Commencement, in Harvard's 375th anniversary year

John Adams and Walter Kohn

The University confers honorary degrees on six men and two women.

Fareed Zakaria

An oratorical omnium gatherum, from Donald Berwick and Derek Bok to Margaret Marshall and Fareed Zakaria

<b>The Blue Classes:</b> The Class of 2012 has revived the "class color" tradition (see "<a href="">Curious Colors</a>"); theirs is blue. On Class Day, members of the class of 1955 displayed their class banner (also blue) to honor the graduating seniors and guest speaker Barney Frank, whose College class (1961) is blue, too.

Commencement moments and people—pleasing, surprising, and funny

Harvard partners with MIT to form edX, an ambitious online learning venture.

Russell Phillips

Meet the director of Harvard Medical School's new Center for Primary Care.

In a fiscally constrained era, faculty-administration tensions arise.

Paul J. Finnegan

Paul Finnegan joins the Harvard Corporation, expanding its ranks to 11.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences deploys new rules and procedures surrounding financial conflicts of interest.

Jonathan L. Walton

Memorial Church's new minister, Pulitzer Prize winners, and other Harvardians in the news

Headlines from Harvard history

Radcliffe Rejuvenated: Days before Commencement, the Radcliffe Institute moved its administrative offices back into the newly renovated Fay House (shown here, the Atkinson Room, on the third floor). With the renovation of its main buildings now complete, the institute planned to redo its campus landscaping this summer.

Shading the Yard, new digital Niemans, Brazil's Harvard commitment, and more

The Undergraduate considers the human cost of perfection.

At home, far from home: New Zealander brothers James (left) and Sam O’Connor in Newell Boathouse

The brothers O'Connor, from New Zealand, row on the Harvard varsity heavyweight crew.

Spring sports wrap-up


Film director Mustapha Khan near his home and studio, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge

<i>Rocksteady</i>, a film directed by Mustapha Khan '84, explores the culture of stock car races.

Getting them while they’re young: tiny cigarette packs, meant for children to incorporate into their play with dolls or toy soldiers

Robert Proctor’s <i>Golden Holocaust</i> urges abolition of cigarettes, the leading preventable cause of death.

Charles Cushman’s America, in Kodachrome: Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 1959 (above), and Newberry and Maxwell Streets, Chicago, 1950 (below, right)</p>

Recent books with Harvard connections

Ben Cosgrove at the keyboard during a recent performance

Composer Ben Cosgrove connects sound and place.

Video-game artist Scott Duquette at his home in Providence, Rhode Island

Video-game designer Scott Duquette ’05, a new kind of urban planner

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words


John West with his children—Georgia (20 months), Jack (8 years), and Danny (5 years)—at-hand audience members for, and friendly critics of, The Whistle

An entrepreneur’s multimedia ESPN for kids, “the next generation of sports fans”

Frances Downing Vaughan ’44 and Donald F. Brown ’30 (holding a photo of himself on his graduation day)

Harvard’s senior members, at Commencement and elsewhere

Clockwise from top left: Susan S. Wallach, Charles W. Collier, Harry L. Parker, Ellen R. Gordon and Melvin J. Gordon

Five honored for outstanding service to the University

Four women and eight men were chosen.

Four seniors are bound for Britain.

New records are announced on Commencement afternoon.

Top row, from left: Daniel Aaron and Karl Eikenberry. Bottom row, from left: Nancy Hopkins and Robert Keohane

A literary scholar, an East Asia expert, a trailblazing biologist, and a specialist on international relations are honored.

Drew Faust

A letter from President Drew Faust

Nick Volk has worked hard for years to provide more affordable housing in Toronto.

Nick Volk ’53 champions affordable housing.

Kathy Perkins

Kathy Perkins ’92 fosters science education.

Shared Interest Group happenings in July and August

Harvard alumni may sign in to view class notes and obituaries.