The dance between Radcliffe and Harvard continues. From an 1893 illustration in the Harvard Lampoon.
While sources at Harvard confirm that talks continue with Radcliffe officials regarding the future status of Radcliffe College, Radcliffe president Linda Wilson and Board of Trustees chair Nancy-Beth Sheerr '71 preserved the silence about the issue that they have maintained for the past nine months, simply asserting through a spokesperson that they "are not commenting publicly on private discussions." Whether Radcliffe will remain involved in the education of undergraduate women, or become an umbrella institution housing several scholarly research institutes, or pursue some other course, remained in doubt in early February. But these questions have, in a sense, traditionally remained unresolved; talks on the possibility of a Harvard-Radcliffe "merger" have taken place fitfully since the 1960s, with the discussions peaking at least once per decade.
While Radcliffe moves toward its uncertain destiny, several of its higher-level administrators have opted for more specific futures. Four have departed in the past eight months. The first to go was director of development Martha Ann Fuller, who left Radcliffe for a job as assistant dean of development at MIT's School of Humanities and Social Sciences last June.
In December, vice president for finance and administration Nancy J. Dunn accepted the post of chief financial officer of the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C. Dunn, Radcliffe's treasurer and a member of its Board of Trustees, arrived at the College in 1991; she will continue to carry out her duties as treasurer.
In January, director of communications Lyn Chamberlin left after five years to become director of business development for the MIT-based magazine Technology Review. And less than a week later, Susan Shefe, administrative director of the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute, decamped to become director of special projects for Sally H. Zeckhauser, Harvard's vice president for administration. Whether the rash of departures is coincidental, or indicates anything about Radcliffe's future, is another unresolved question.