Discovery of over $26,000 in misplaced gifts will necessitate the University's making a complete survey of its financial records this winter for the first time since 1948.
Howard N. Smith, Comptroller, said yesterday the check will seek to eliminate long-standing balances from "gifts for immediate use." Primarily affected will be non-departmental gifts and donations for specific research projects.
"I never realized there were so many such balances," Edward R. Reynolds '15, Administrative Vice-President, said yesterday after asking the Comptroller to go through the records.
Riddled with Balances
"We checked sections of the Financial Report regularly," Smith explained, "but every few years we settle down and count up all the unused balances--its like weeding a garden."
Smith admitted the report's brief, non-departmental section--"a kind of catchall"--is riddled with unused gifts that should be written off.
When a gift is unusable, the University first tries to contact the donor and return the money. If this is impossible, the alternatives are: 1) apply the gift to charges against unrestricted University funds, 2) use it for a related purpose, 3) or take the gift to court for re-allocation.
Outstanding balances needing reallocation are $8,969.37 from three 1940 gifts for the World War II Harvard Emergency Public Health Units and $1,300 from the Harvard unit of the Army's Fifth General Hospital.
Smith said he "will definitely use up" several gifts by reimbursing the University, which overlooked these funds. Over $14,000 of a $15,000 gift for the "wall and other decorations in Graduate Commons and dormitories" will go to the University, and the rest to the Law School.
In the same category are $100 for the Memorial Church World War II Honor Plaque (which cost the College $75,000), and $500 given in 1942 by the Associated for the College's film "Harvard in War Time."2 This 1944 color film saddled the University with a $13,000 deficit.