John Harvard's Journal
The Marshal Moves On
Jackie O’Neill, who as University Marshal maintained timely order during Commencement Exercises for the past 14 years, retired at the end of December. The rest of the time, the marshal welcomes international visitors to Harvard: heads of state, academic delegations, and more (847 visitors from 52 countries in the most recent year). Her prior Harvard service, begun in 1976, spanned roles in government relations, as staff director for the president and provost, and involvement in the University’s presence in Allston. By stepping down now, O’Neill enables a successor to make ready for the next Harvard president’s inaugural hoopla—perhaps next October; but it means that she will not receive earned accolades for conducting the proceedings on May 24, the last Commencement at which Drew Faust will preside and be applauded. Margot Gill, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ administrative dean for international affairs, will serve as interim marshal through June 2019.
Mehra Family professor of South Asian studies and professor of history Sunil Amrith has been awarded a no-strings-attached, $625,000 MacArthur Foundation fellowship. Landscape architect Kate Orff, M.L.A. ’97, and Damon Rich, a 2007 Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design, were also awarded fellowships. Details are available at harvardmag.com/macarthurs-17.
The freshman dean’s office is completing work on a new pre-orientation program, planned to accommodate up to 100 matriculants in August, aimed particularly at students who are the first generation in their family to attend college, come from lower-income backgrounds, or attended high schools whose graduates are “typically underrepresented in the Ivy League.” Details are expected this winter; the content is likely to cover the transition from home to college, making the most of the College’s culture (by attending office hours and building academic relationships with professors, and so on), and navigating campus resources. For more on such programs, see “Mastering the ‘Hidden Curriculum’” (November-December 2017, page 18).
On Other Campuses
Three Yale scholars, reporting in Nature, found that their campus’s pilot carbon-pricing scheme had been effective in reducing energy use; the program has now been extended to more than 250 buildings, which account for nearly 70 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.…Kenneth Griffin ’89, whose $150-million gift, principally for undergraduate financial aid, boosted the Faculty of Arts and Sciences early in the current capital campaign (see harvardmag.com/aid-14), has now given $125 million to the University of Chicago, where he is a trustee, to underwrite faculty positions, research, and financial aid in economics. Separately, Chicago’s Booth School of Business announced a $75-million gift from two of its M.B.A. alumni.…The University of California, San Francisco, a graduate-level, health-sciences institution, has announced a $5-billion capital campaign—with $3 billion already committed.
President Drew Faust has initiated searches for successors to Graduate School of Education dean James E. Ryan, president-elect of the University of Virginia, and Lizabeth Cohen, who is stepping down at the Radcliffe Institute to resume teaching. The advisory committees and channels to forward ideas or nominations are detailed at harvardmag.com/gseri-searches-17.
Harvard has leased the entire 61,000-square-foot property at 784 Memorial Drive—a landmark building once occupied by Polaroid—to house information technology services staff members.…Cambridge City Council has voted to approve MIT’s enormous redevelopment of a 14-acre site adjacent to Kendall Square, in which it has made an initial $750-million investment. After building new quarters for the federal Volpe Transportation Systems Center, the institute plans to erect 1,400 units of housing, hundreds of graduate-student beds, and office and laboratory buildings, plus street-level retail and public spaces.…The renewal of Adams House, scheduled to follow the two-year renovation of Lowell House, now under way, may be conducted over a three-year span; given Adams’s multibuilding structure, the College envisions the work proceeding in stages—with the result that some students may remain in residence throughout, rather than all decamping to swing spaces.
HBX unbundles. The Business School’s three-course online Credential of Readiness (CORe) program has been separated into three eight-week online certificate programs (in business analytics, economics, and financial accounting), amplifying opportunities to attract students. Each costs $1,500.
Social investing. The University’s retirement plan investment committee, responding to requests from faculty members and others, is surveying plan participants to determine whether they would like fund options incorporating social criteria (such as labor practice, environmental impact, etc.)—and if so, of what sorts.