Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

July-August 2012

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.

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.

Photograph by Stu Rosner

The first-floor hall of Fay House

The first-floor hall of Fay House

Photograph by Stu Rosner

Niemans of Note

The seventy-fifth class of Nieman Fellows—24 journalists chosen to study at Harvard during the 2012-2013 academic year—will include two Nieman-Berkman Fellows in Journalism Innovation. The new partnership between the Nieman Foundation and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society aims to generate ideas to advance quality journalism in the digital era. The fellows are Laura Norton Amico, editor of Homicide Watch, in Washington, D.C. (studying criminal justice journalism), and Borja Echevarria de la Gándara, deputy managing editor of El País, in Madrid (studying digital newsrooms).

 

Brazilian School(ing) Ties

During a campus visit in early April, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced government funding to support the studies at Harvard of up to 40 doctoral students and a small number of undergraduates—all concentrating in science and engineering fields. The agreement also covers funding for 40 postdoctoral fellowships and for 75 Medical School and 25 School of Engineering and Applied Sciences one-year fellowships. "We are just now bringing to an end the efforts to eliminate extreme poverty in Brazil," Rousseff said, and thus preparing to devote more resources to education. Harvard has similar country-specific, student-support agreements with Australia, China, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan.

 

 

Photograph courtesy of the Harvard Alumni Association

Richard A. Meserve

Photograph courtesy of the Harvard Alumni Association

Lucy Fisher

 

Overseer Leaders

Richard A. Meserve, J.D. '75, has been elected president of the Board of Overseers for the 2012-2013 academic year; Lucy Fisher '71 will serve as vice chair of the board's executive committee. They succeed Leila Fawaz, Ph.D. '79, a professor at Tufts, and Robert N. Shapiro '72, J.D. '78, a partner at the Ropes & Gray law firm, respectively. Meserve is president of the Carnegie Institution for Science and former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (he earned a doctorate in applied physics at Stanford in 1976). Fisher, a film producer, has also worked extensively on funding stem-cell research.

 

Sun Screens

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Just before Commencement week, debarked tree trunks supporting fabric sun baffles were erected in the Dudley House "courtyard" (in front of Lehman Hall). Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, Eliot professor in practice of landscape architecture, these new elements in the campus "common spaces" initiative will encourage lingering over summer lunches from the Dudley Café. They may have arrived just in time: the living London plane trees show signs of a fungal infection that causes widespread leaf loss.

 

 

Engineering Advances

At its May 1 meeting, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences approved two new undergraduate concentrations, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering—previously offered as study tracks within the engineering-sciences program. Both will require 20 half-courses, consistent with S.B. degrees—the model created 50 years ago for engineering sciences, and the requirement for accreditation and students' subsequent professional licensure and practice. The programs are offered within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where enrollment has grown strongly since it was elevated from divisional status in 2007.

 

Information-Technology Investments

Following the designation last December of a Cornell-Technion partnership to develop an engineering and applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, New York City has doubled its bet on innovation: New York University (with Carnegie-Mellon, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, and other partners) will create an applied-science research institute in Brooklyn. Steven Koonin, former provost of Caltech, is the director.…Cornell has begun construction on the $60-million Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, the new home of its computer- and information-science faculties; the eponymous foundation made a $25-million naming gift for the facility. Bill Gates '77, LL.D. '07, and Microsoft colleague Steven Ballmer '77 earlier underwrote Harvard's Maxwell-Dworkin Laboratory (honoring their mothers' maiden names), home to electrical engineering and computer sciences.

 

On Other Campuses

Brown inaugurated its Humanities Initiative, appointing Paul Guyer '69, Ph.D. '74, a philosophy professor from the University of Pennsylvania, to the first of several new, interdepartmental chairs.…Separately, Brown has agreed to help Providence, Rhode Island, close its budget gap by increasing its voluntary and tax payments to the city by $3.9 million annually for five years, and by $2 million for each of the next six years—a total of $31.5 million in added funds through 2022.…Johns Hopkins calculates that, with his latest gift ($120 million for its children's hospital), New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, M.B.A. '66, has increased his philanthropy to his alma mater to $800 million. At Harvard, he has supported renovation and expansion of the Business School's Baker Library/Bloomberg Center.…Past Cornell president Jeffrey S. Lehman, most recently dean of a law school in Shenzhen, has been appointed vice chancellor (the academic leader) of NYU Shanghai, a new liberal-arts campus partnered with East China Normal University; it plans to enroll students in the fall of 2013.

 

Nota Bene

Presidential Medalists. President Barack Obama, J.D. '91, in April conferred a baker's dozen Medals of Freedom (the nation's highest civilian award). The honorands included Madeleine Albright, LL.D. '97, secretary of state in the Clinton administration; William Foege, M.P.H. '65, S.D. '97, a leader in the fight against smallpox and past director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Toni Morrison, Litt.D. '89, novelist, Nobel laureate, and Pulitzer Prize-winner; and Shimon Peres, B '51, president of Israel, past prime minister and foreign minister, and Nobel laureate.

Endowment Managers' Earnings. Harvard Management Company has reported the calendar-year 2010 compensation for its president and five most highly paid portfolio manangers: president and CEO Jane Mendillo, $3.5 million; Andy Wiltshire, external platform, $5.5 million; Apoorva Koticha, fixed income, $4.4 million; Stephen Blyth, internal platform, $2.7 million; Graig Fantuzzi, fixed income, $2.1 million; Marc Barrozo, fixed income, $2.1 million. For complete details, see http://harvardmag.com/pay-12.

Elevated Admissions Yield. Harvard College reported an admissions yield (the percentage of those offered a place in the class of 2016 who accepted) of 81 percent—the highest level since 1971, and up from 76 percent last year. The elevated figure reflects the reinstatement of early-action admissions; those applicants, notified of their acceptance last December, are disproportionately inclined to enroll, since Harvard is their strong first choice.

Libraries' Leave-Takings. Of the 280 Harvard University Library employees offered early retirement this spring (those 55 and older, with 10 years of service), 65 have accepted. Before the retirements, the library system employed 930 people.

Arts and Letters Honors. The American Academy of Arts and Letters has conferred its Arts and Letters Award in Literature on poet Frederick Seidel '57 and author Adam Hochschild '63; its Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts on folk singer Pete Seeger '40; and its Michael Braude Award for Light Verse on New Yorker staff member Roger Angell '42.

 

Courtesy of Amy N. Finkelstein

Amy N. Finkelstein

Miscellany. Harvard Business School has opened a fully featured, 82-seat multimedia classroom—modeled on the teaching amphitheaters at its Allston campus—at the Taj Lands End, in Mumbai. It is a permanent center for the executive-education classes HBS initiated in that city and Hyderabad in 2008. A similar facility began operating in Shanghai in the spring of 2010.…President Drew Faust has agreed to stand for election to the board of directors of Staples, Inc., the office-products retailer; she is apparently the first sitting Harvard president to serve on a corporate board.…Brad Epps—professor of Romance languages and literatures and of studies of women, gender, and sexuality—is departing for the other Cambridge (where he will chair the department of Spanish and Portuguese) next year. He was instrumental in bringing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered studies into the Harvard curriculum (see "Toward Gender and Sexuality Studies?").…The U.S. Senate in May confirmed President Barack Obama's nomination of Safra professor of economics Jeremy C. Stein to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors.…Amy N. Finkelstein '95, JF '05—a government concentrator as an undergraduate, now a professor of economics at MIT—has been awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, the American Economic Association's preeminent recognition for younger scholars in the field, for her work in health economics and policy.

 

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