Dean's Office, the Hub of Undergraduate Life
Eight Deans Assisted By a Large Staff Of Secretaries Keep Their Eyes On Student Pranksters
If you want a course reduction, an explanation of that warning you got yesterday, a loan on your term bill, or merely time out for an elopement report at University Hall, where eight deans and innumerable secretaries will-try to rescue you from "undergraduate pitfalls".
Though he would be the last to admit it, college life revolves around Dean A. Chester Hanford, who somehow manages to keep in touch with every undergraduate activity from club initiations to the latest examination debacle.
Through long evolution, the various functions of the Dean's Office have been split up among the eight College deans, though most crucial problems ultimately find their way to Dean Hanford's desk. To keep in touch with undergraduates, the University Hall mentors last year held more than 6,720 conferences with students, kept them waiting for at least 1,120 hours on the back-breaking benches in University 4 and 9.
Freshman Deans in New Suite
The Freshman class since 1931 has had a separate dean, Delmar Leighton '19, but it was not until this fall that the entire Freshman staff was located in the same suite of offices. With their offices formerly in University 4, the assistant Yardling deans were three floors away from Dean Leighton's sanctum in University 9. Last summer the Yardling force was moved to new third floor offices streamlined with the latest in telephone pushbuttons and filing cabinets.
Dean Leighton's office is also the headquarters of the 45-man Board of Freshman advisers, which was subjected to thorough reorganization two years ago. Holding office hours once a week, the advisers see each Freshman at least five times a year, prepare confidential reports about their advises for Mr. Leighton's files.
Besides his regular duties, Dean Leighton occasionally finds time to join Admissions Committee Chairman Richard M. Gummere's troupe who annually cover the prep school circuit. Smoking their pipes in headmasters' libraries, they talk to future Freshmen about scholarships, tell them what they will face at Harvard. Because first year-men, unused to Harvard, get into more jams than upperclassmen, the University provides them with more guidance. The tendency in late years has been to tighten the Dean's Office's supervision over Freshmen, which Dean Leighton insists is of a helpful rather than punitive nature.
University Hall has long had the reputation of being a preparatory school for eastern prep school headmasterships. Drawing most of its material from brilliant BMOC's (big men on campus) who graduated here, the Dean's Office is the middle link in the oft-repeated student council to "baby" dean to headmaster circuit. E. Francis Bowditch '33, now headmaster of the Park School of Indianapolis, Geoffrey W. Lewis, head of Browne and Nichol's, and Francis Parkman '18, headmaster of St. Marks, are but a few of those now landed in comfortable prep school berths who started at University 4.
These "baby" deans have always held somewhat of a monopoly over the Freshman class, where their intimate knowledge of what the undergraduate is up to can be of most value. As the Dean's Office sees it, the appointment of younger men injects new blood and new ideas into University Hall, keeping the older members of the staff more closely in touch with contemporary student life. This year's crop of "baby" deans brought two new assistants to Dean Leighton.
One of the latest additions to Dean Leighton's staff is a one-time president of the Student Council, Francis Keppel '38, who relieved Dean Bowditch this fall. Spending a year in Europe sculpting following his graduation here, Dean Keppel frequently takes time out to work on some project in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Knight McMahan '33, instructor and tutor in Philosophy, former First Marshal of Phi Beta Kappa, and first scholar of his class, is also new to Dean Leighton's office this year. As head proctor in Massachusetts Hall last year, his clarion call rivaled General Apted's in quieting the Yard when riot flags were flying.
The older "baby" dean on the Freshman staff. Henry Chauncey, who won his letters in football and baseball in 1928, handles all scholarship applications for incoming classes and administers the National Scholarships. With a pet machine known as "Chauncey's brain child" on the top floor of University Hall. Dean Chauncey sorts and tabulates data relating to admission records, aptitude tests, scholarship examinations, and college work.
At the beginning of each year, the Freshman class, is divided among Deans Keppel and McMahan, except for scholarship holders from the National Scholarship areas, who are under Dean Chauncey's jurisdiction. With the files of University 9 bulging with admission records, letters from parents and headmasters, and confidential reports from instructors and advisers, the deans have complete dossiers on each Freshman at their finger tips.
A former business man and an alumnus of the Graduate School of Business Administration, Sargent Kennedy '28, is this year's only addition to University 4, taking over the Sophomores and dropped Freshmen from Dean William H. Cary, Jr. '21, who went to Washington this fall.
Juniors and Seniors, proctors outside the Yard: and student organizations come under the jurisdiction of Stephen H. Stackpole '33, whose main job is to guide bewildered upperclassmen through the maze of University red tape. A former teacher at Governor Dunmer Academy. Dean Stackpole served for several years as President Conant's secretary, a post for which he was trained as editor of the Lampoon. Seeing more than 600 students a year, he does everything from receiving petitions for loans to trying to persuade City Councilor Mike Sullivan not to break up College productions.
Disciplinary power in the College is held by the Administrative Board, the Faculty's judicial body, which not only passes on individual cases, but makes "recommendation to the Faculty on general educational matters" and preserves continuity of policy. Since few members keep abreast of student peccadillos, the Board acts on information submitted by Deans Hanford and Leighton, and usually follows their recommendations; though it is by no means a "rubber stamp" for them.
Sitting on the Administrative Board are Deans Hanford and Leighton, George H. Chase, Dean of the University. Alfred M. Tozzer, professor of Anthropology, James B. Munn, professor of English, George F. Plimpton, associate Dean of the College, and Leigh Headley, professor of Biology, all of whom have served in the capacity for at least a half a dozen years.
If Dean Hanford is the boss of the undergraduate world, the numerous clerks and secretaries are the backbone of the Dean's Office. Some of the secretaries, such as Dean Hanford's Miss Eva Weeks, Miss Helen Lang in the Freshman office, and Miss Rosalie S. Magruder of the Records Office, have worked in University Hall much longer than any of the deans and know more about the College's ins and outs. According to old timers, the visual appeal of the Dean's Office secretarial staff has noticeably improved within recent years.
Keeping count of every A minus and cut of upperclassmen, a First Marshal of Phi Beta Kappa, first scholar in his class, and former CRIMSON editorial chairman, now teaching German, Reginald H. Phelps '30, heads the Records Office where the life history of every student is filed away.
By the time you graduate, the Dean's Office will have in its files everything worth knowing about you from the time that you tipped a fire extinguisher over in Weld Hall until you got your last C minus in History