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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

November-December 2018

Brian K. Lee

Photograph by Rob Greer


Brian K. Lee

Photograph by Rob Greer

Development Director

Brian K. Lee has been appointed vice president for alumni affairs and development, effective November 19, succeeding Tamara Elliot Rogers, who is stepping down after leading The Harvard Campaign. Lee, who has been at Caltech since 2012, where he directs a current $2-billion fund drive, previously worked at Tufts, running a $609-million campaign that concluded just as Lawrence W. Bacow became president, and then collaborating with him on the $1.2-billion Boundaries Campaign. Their past ties, and possible directions for Harvard fundraising now, are reported further at harvardmag.com/brianklee-18.

Design Redesign

Harvard’s Graduate School of Design has announced that its landlocked 1972 facilities will be expanded and updated (a goal of its recent capital campaign) under the direction of Herzog & de Meuron, design consultant, and Beyer Blinder Belle, architect of record. Though a design, budget, and timetable have yet to be disclosed, the proposed addition is expected, according to the school, “to add only a minimal amount to Gund Hall’s physical footprint”—presumably reworking interior space (like the punning Chauhaus cafeteria) and accommodating new construction rising alongside Gund from the small, sloping piece of land abutting to the north, facing the Swedenborg Chapel at 50 Quincy Street. An increasingly interdisciplinary faculty, joint degrees with the engineering and public-health schools, and evolved technologies all require new, and expanded, spaces for what Herzog & de Meuron termed “a significant expansion and retrofit.” Design development is scheduled to conclude in early autumn.

Online Ivy Degrees

Coursera, the for-profit online course platform, announced its first Ivy degree offering: a University of Pennsylvania master’s in computer and information technology, that school’s first fully online degree. It aims to serve adult learners who cannot or do not wish to enroll in the equivalent on-campus program.…Penn promptly followed that announcement with the mid September news that it will offer directly a new, online bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences, crossing a threshold for an online, undergraduate Ivy degree in the liberal arts.…Separately, Anant Agarwal, founder and CEO of edX, Harvard’s online partnership with MIT, was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development, created by Charles Chen Yidan, co-founder of Tencent, the Chinese social-media company. The prize brings a $3.87-million honorarium and research fund.

Leadership Leaders


Wendy R. Sherman
Courtesy of the U.S. State Department

The Harvard Kennedy School has made a cluster of appointments, renewing its leadership faculty. David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) since its founding in 2000, will step down in January; he is being succeeded by Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. She also becomes professor of the practice of public leadership; Gergen remains on the faculty. Cornell William Brooks, former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has been appointed professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice. And Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, becomes professor of the practice of public leadership in July 2019.

On Other Campuses

Introducing the no-tuition M.D. degree, NYU School of Medicine announced in August that with nearly a half-billion dollars of new aid endowment in hand, all current and future students in its degree program will study free of tuition charges (currently $55,018). The school aims to go beyond need-based scholarships or debt relief to make the initial choice of a medical career more attractive to any prospective student. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 75 percent of U.S. doctors graduated with student debt in 2017; their median debt totaled about $200,000.…The Yale endowment will no longer invest in retail enterprises that sell assault weapons to the general public.…Yale College has unveiled an online system that students can use to request aid for unexpected financial needs, such as medical costs or travel to cope with family emergencies. It and peer institutions, including Harvard, have extended lump-sum grants and other resources to lower-income students, who are being enrolled in increasing numbers, who lack the resources to cope with such crises.

Gifts of Note

UCLA has received a $25-million gift, its largest in the humanities, in support of its philosophy department ($20 million) and graduate humanities fellowships.…Yale announced a $160-million gift from alumnus and former trustee Edward P. Bass to support renovation of its Peabody Museum, a facility that combines public exhibition space, scientific collections, and research facilities, much like Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology complex.


Nina Zipser and David Laibson
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Lowell House Leaders

Nina Zipser, Ph.D. ’00, dean for faculty affairs and planning, and David Laibson ’88, Goldman professor of economics and former chair of that department, will become faculty deans of Lowell House at the start of the next academic year. They succeed Diana Eck, Wertham professor of law and psychiatry in society, and Dorothy Austin, formerly associate minister at Memorial Church, who are concluding 20 years of service during Lowell’s two-year diaspora, as it undergoes complete renovation, scheduled to end next year. Zipser and Laibson have an 11-year-old son, Max.

Nota Bene

Labor relations. Harvard’s labor negotiators have a busy fall. The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, representing about 5,000 employees, let it be known that a new contract would not be reached by the September 30 expiration of the last one; it pointed to differences over wage increases (3.4 percent annually in the current agreement, but inflation is higher now), the cost of health benefits, and the proper use of contingent workers for short-term, temporary assignments. And the new Harvard Graduate Students Union polled members to formulate a list of positions for its initial negotiations over compensation, benefits, working conditions, and other issues.

Bragging rights. Stanford, which has reported the lowest undergraduate admissions rate in recent years, besting Harvard, has decided to stop publicizing its number of applicants. It said it does not want to discourage any prospective applicant who might contribute to a Cardinal class.

Getting to Gen Ed. As the College musters a cohort of new courses for the fall 2019 introduction of the revised curriculum in general education (see “Unfinished Business,” July-August, page 3), its faculty director, professor of psychology Jason Mitchell, stepped down. The new dean of undergraduate education, Zemurray Stone Radcliffe professor of English Amanda Claybaugh, now has that urgent priority added to her own agenda.

Howard Hughes Fellows. The second cohort of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Hanna Gray Fellows—Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. graduates who receive $1.4 million in research support and mentoring during eight years of postdoctoral and tenure-track appointments—include four Harvard affiliates: Carolyn Elya (microbial assaults on nervous systems); Shan Meltzer (sensory neurons, Harvard Medical School); Michelle Richter (genome editing); and Thiago Monteiro Araújo dos Santos (bacterial cell walls).

Amateur athletics? The fiftieth anniversary of the historic 29-29 edition of The Game is setting two precedents. It is being played at Fenway Park, not the Stadium. And although the event has long been posted as sold out, the Mandarin Oriental, as “host hotel,” has deals available November 16-18: atop the nightly room rate of $1,045, a “Basic” package comes with a ticket and pass to the official tailgate ($1,195 solo, $1,595 for two adults); the “Elite” version gets customers into the hotel’s private suite at Fenway, plus food and beverages and a VIP tour of the park ($1,995 and $3,195, respectively). 

Culturally coeducated. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals has cast women for its 2019 production, ending a males-only tradition begun in 1844. The formerly all-male a cappella group, the Din and Tonics, has admitted a female member as well. (Yale’s Whiffenpoofs did so in February.)

Hutchins honorands. Recipients of the Hutchins Center’s Du Bois Medal, scheduled to be conferred October 11, ranged from Colin Kaepernick, the professional football quarterback at the center of athletes’ protests against racial injustice, to Harvard’s own Florence C. Ladd, BI ’72, the author and director of the Bunting Institute from 1989 to 1997.


Lawrence D. Bobo
Courtesy of Lawrence D. Bobo

Social scientist. Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean Claudine Gay, who was formerly dean of social science, has named Du Bois professor of the social sciences Lawrence D. Bobo, a sociologist, to succeed her in that post. Bobo has been chair of the department of African and African American studies as well.

Miscellany. George P. Smith, Ph.D. ’71, now emeritus at the University of Missouri, shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry and surgeon Denis Mukwege, Sc.D. ’15, shared the Peace Prize.…Zwaanstra professor of international studies and economics Gita Gopinath has been appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.…Mary Bassett ’74, M.D., M.P.H., who was most recently commissioner of the New York City department of health and mental hygiene, has been appointed director of the public-health school’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.…Patti Bellinger ’83 has been appointed chief of staff and strategic adviser to President Lawrence S. Bacow. She has been adjunct lecturer and senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and was previously executive director of the CPL.…President emeritus Neil L. Rudenstine has returned to the classroom, teaching a freshman seminar, “Early 20th Century American and English Poetry: Love, War, Religion, and Nature.”…Rita Charon, M.D. ’78, founding chair and professor of medical humanities and ethics at Columbia, was chosen to deliver the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecture this October. The endowment cited her “pioneering work in narrative medicine.”…Dr. Abigail Lipson, has retired as director of the College’s Bureau of Study Counsel; Sindhumathi Revuluri is interim director.

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