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|PRISM FOR AN AGE: Each year, new courses introduced throughout the University provide a telling snapshot of the scientific, political, and cultural topics of the times, viz. Applied Physics 365, "Experimental Condensed Matter: Ballistic Transport in Semiconductors, Nanostructures, and Tunneling Microscopy," or Government 2462, "The Presidency and the Constitutional Order." On this magazine's centennial, one finds new courses probing the distant past (Anthropology 232, "Quaternary Pollen Analysis") and peering into the future (Freshman Seminar 22, "'Are We Alone': Historical Impact of the Idea of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life"), even opening the possibility of refashioning ourselves not just culturally (Women's Studies 132, "Shop 'Til You Drop: Gender and Class in Consumer Society") but biologically (Genetics 360, "Genomic Imprinting and Gene Expression"). All this, and some humanizing local color thrown in for good measure: Folklore and Mythology 148 is a conference course on "HarvardLore," including the unsinkable myth that Harry Elkins Widener's mother stipulated--in her gift of the eponymous library--that all students must pass a swimming test to graduate, lest they face the same fate that befell poor Harry at the sinking of the Titanic. Illustration by Charles C. Hefling|
Harvard's Public Face
The University's new liaison to government and the media is Paul S. Grogan, Ed.M. '79. In October, he was appointed vice president for government, community, and public affairs, succeeding James H. Rowe III '73, who resigned last spring to return to Washington, D.C., where he now works at a public-affairs firm ("Back to the Outside World," July-August, page 69). Since 1986, Grogan has directed the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a nonprofit inner-city development organization. Before that, he was involved in neighborhood development and schooling programs in Boston. Those experiences may stand him in good stead as Harvard's growth in Cambridge and, potentially, in Allston raises issues in the surrounding residential communities.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham of the Iowa Writers Workshop has been appointed the Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory in the de- partment of English and American literature and language. Graham succeeds Emerson poet in residence Seamus Heaney, who held the Boylston chair through the 1996-97 academic year. Graham will remain at Iowa this year and teach her first Harvard classes in the fall of 1999.
Philosopher Robert Nozick, senior fellow of the Society of Fellows (see "Environment for Genius?"), has been appointed Pellegrino University Professor. The former Porter professor of philosophy is perhaps most widely known for his books Anarchy, State, and Utopia and Philosophical Explanations. Like his 17 fellow University Professors, he can now pursue scholarship across Harvard departmental and school boundaries. Nozick has already offered seminars at the Law School, and his latest book, Socratic Puzzles, published by Harvard University Press last year, indicates the breadth of his interests: it includes both essays and "philosophical fictions."
Marc L. Goodheart '81, J.D. '85, has become the new Secretary of the University and its governing boards. Goodheart, who previously worked in Harvard's legal office and as an attorney in private practice, has served as assistant to the president since 1992, a position he will continue to hold. In announcing the appointment, President Neil L. Rudenstine cited Goodheart's "organizational skills, knowledge of University issues, institutional sensitivity, keen intelligence, and ability to communicate effectively," and called him "a person of unimpeachable integrity in whom I have the utmost trust." He succeeds Michael W. Roberts, J.D. '79, Ph.D. '80 ("Law and Literature," July-August, page 69).
A Nobel Prize for Welfare Work
Amartya K. Sen, Indian economist and philosopher, won the 1998 Nobel Prize in economic sciences October 14 for what the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences called "his contributions to welfare economics." He has helped the world to understand the causes of famine and how various social and economic factors influence the poorest in society. Sen is Lamont University Professor emeritus, having given up that post last year to become master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He had also been senior fellow of the Society of Fellows. He maintains ties to Harvard as adjunct professor of population and international health at the School of Public Health and is based at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies in Cambridge, where he spends two months a year. He is also visiting professor of economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Sen's award seems timely given the economic collapse in much of the developing world. His work is very different from that of last year's winners of the economics prize, Robert C. Merton, McArthur University Professor, and Myron S. Scholes, both partners of Long-Term Capital Management, whose recent troubles seemed to menace the entire global financial system.
Perhaps seeking a challenge equal to his former responsibility for organizing the multibillion-dollar clean-up of Boston Harbor, Paul F. Levy has become executive dean of administration for Harvard Medical School and vice president of Harvard Medical Center. In the former capacity, he will manage the medical school's budgeting and finance, planning, personnel, facilities, and external relations. In the latter, he will work with the school and its hospital and research affiliates to foster collaboration in conducting clinical trials and other activities involving multiple institutions on and around the Longwood medical campus. Levy was formerly director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Agency, chairman of the state's Department of Public Utilities, and a consultant and adjunct professor at MIT.
The same week Levy's appointment was announced, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Lawrence J. and Florence DeGeorge, of West Palm Beach, Florida, pledged $20 million for research on juvenile diabetes, involving, among other entities, much of the Boston medical community--a model of the collaborative efforts Medical School dean Joseph B. Martin seeks to foster.
Consistent with its decision last spring to double the length of graduate students' financial-aid packages ("Two More Years," July-August, page 66), the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has created 90 new discussion sections for large College lecture courses by reducing the targeted size of each from 20 students to 18. Previously, of the approximately 3,200 undergraduate sections conducted each year, only about three-quarters--those in language instruction and Core courses--already aimed to enroll fewer than 20 students. The newly authorized teaching fellowships and assistantships thus increase the number of graduate-student teaching slots while trimming the size of the other sections an average of 10 percent. Further reductions in class size, if any, depend in part on the overall availability of graduate-aid funds and on FAS decisions on future graduate-school enrollments.
DEAD HEAT. In its annual ranking of colleges and universities, U.S. News & World Report promoted Yale, which placed third last year, into a first-place tie with Harvard and Princeton.
MUSEUM MAN. Joshua P. Basseches, M.B.A. '92, is the new executive director of the restructured Museum of Natural History (formerly the Museum of Cultural and Natural History), which encompasses the botanical, comparative zoology, and mineralogical museums. He previously worked at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and on the integration of the Peabody and Essex museums in Salem, Massachusetts. Harvard's Peabody Museum, home to the anthropological and archaeological collections and formerly part of the MCNH group, will now operate independently.
LABOR LEADER. Kim A. Roberts '78, an attorney who was most recently an executive with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a 77,000-member union, is Harvard's new director of labor and employee relations. Her duties include overseeing the University's contract negotiations with seven unions.
GREEN BAR. The Law School has appointed Jason Waanders '95, J.D. '98, former president of its Environmental Law Society, its first environmental law fellow. He will work to develop a plan for an environmental law program at the school, aiming, he said, to create a curriculum that is "on the level of those existing at the nation's other top law schools."
GRAY'S GREAT HOUSE. No sooner is Asa Gray's role in debating evolution recalled ("A Wrangle Over Darwin," September-October, page 47), than the pioneering botanist's Harvard house comes on the market. Designed in 1810 by Ithiel Town and inhabited by Gray from 1844 to 1888, the house was moved in 1910 to 88 Garden Street--just opposite Harvard University Press's current office--where it now awaits restoration by the buyer with $1.7 million.
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