John Harvard's Journal
Mending the Medical School
Harvard Medical School (HMS) has sold a 99-year leasehold in eight of the 11 floors of its Harvard Institutes of Medicine building. The decision to sell the interest in 190,000-plus square feet of lab space (News Briefs, March-April) proved rewarding: Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation paid $272.5 million, apparently a record price per square foot for Longwood properties.
The use of the funds has not been specified; the school runs at a deficit, and has been trimming costs, boosting continuing-education revenues, and so on. In a statement, CFO Michael White said, “The proceeds from this sale will be used as an investment in our educational and research missions as well as to reduce the school’s debt”—suggesting an allocation between augmenting its endowment ($4.1 billion as of mid 2017) and retiring obligations associated with projects such as the New Research Building (completed at a cost of $260 million in 2003; “A Scientific Instrument,” November-December 2003). Given its needs and hopes for further growth, it would not be surprising to see HMS continue vigorous fundraising—beyond the $773 million raised, as of May 31, during the current capital campaign.
Goldman, Getty, Kluge: A Busy Post-Presidency
As she prepared to depart Mass Hall on June 30, President Drew Faust said she looked forward to a relaxing summer and fall on Cape Cod, some time to consider offers for future engagements, and a reimmersion in historical research. Some of her plans gelled quickly.
Effective July 2, she accepted appointment as a director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Its chairman and CEO, Lloyd C. Blankfein ’75, J.D. ’78, who steps down in September, no doubt knows the new board member well: he was deeply involved in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ capital campaign, particularly in raising funds for financial aid. The announcement occasioned some wry reflections. The student humorists at Satire V, who had gone dormant for the summer, posted twice (a headline read, “I Understand People Are Upset, but If It Helps I Will Be Making a Lot of Money,” and, quoting a mock memo from the former president that plays off undergraduates’ continuing interest in finance, “I’ll see you in a year or two when I’m your boss again”). Others pointed to her extended discussion, in her 2008 baccalaureate address and other occasions, about students’ concerns about the flood of their peers into finance and consulting: “I think you are worried because you want your lives not just to be conventionally successful, but to be meaningful, and you are not sure how those two goals fit together. You are not sure if a generous starting salary at a prestigious brand name organization together with the promise of future wealth will feed your soul.” Faust had set a precedent for a sitting Harvard president when she joined the board of Staples Inc. in 2012.
On July 10, the J. Paul Getty Trust announced that Faust would join its board of trustees—the parent to the eponymous museum, research institute, conservation institute, and foundation. Fellow trustees include James Cuno, president and CEO, who was the director of the then-Harvard University Art Museums from 1991 to 2003; Frances D. Fergusson, president emerita of Vassar and a past president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers; and Neil L. Rudenstine, vice chair and himself president emeritus of the University.
Separately, the Library of Congress announced on June 12 that Faust would receive the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity on September 12, in recognition of her scholarship on the American South and the Civil War. Past winners include philosopher Jürgen Habermas, LL.D. ’01; His Excellency Fernando Henrique Cardoso, LL.D. ’16, a sociologist and two-term president of Brazil; Peter Brown, LL.D. ’02, a much-honored historian of late antiquity and early Christendom; and one of Faust’s own mentors, John Hope Franklin, Ph.D. ’41, LL.D. ’81, the pioneering historian of race in America. A $1-million honorarium accompanies the prize.