F. Skiddy von Stade Jr. '38, has been named the first Master of Mather House, and Alan E. Heimert '49 has been named Master of Eliot House.
The Overseers approved both appointments at their four and one-half hour meeting yesterday, along with the appointment of William Liller '48, Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy, as new Master of Adams House.
Von Stade's appointment is a surprise, because Masters are traditionally chosen from the ranks of professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Von Stade has been Dean of Freshmen for 16 years.
The only previous exception to this rule was David Mason Little, a secretary to the University, who served as Master of Adams House for two decades.
Was Acting Master
Von Stade will remain dean of Freshmen, even after Mather opens in 1969, he said last night. His primary tasks next year will be to build a staff and "figure out ways and means of redistributing juniors and seniors from the other Houses in the Fall of 1969." Von Stade has twice served as acting Master of Kirkland House.
Heimert, associate professor of English, replaces John H. Finley '25, who has served as Eliot House Master for 26 years. Heimert is now connected with Eliot as a tutor. He teaches American literature of the Colonial period and a pro-seminar in American civilization.
Heimert is the author of Religion and the American Mind and with Reinhold Niebuhr of A Nation So Conceived. He joined the Faculty in 1959. He and Mrs. Heimert, who now live in Winchester, will move into the Master's Residence this summer.
At dinner in Eliot House last night, Finley informed his boys of the appointment, and cried "Floreat domus de Eliot" (Let Eliot House bloom). Heimert answered, "Following Master Finley will be like getting into the wake of the Queen Elizabeth in a rowboat." They then sat down with a bottle of Italian champagne.
Liller, who teaches a course on "The Astronomical Perspective," becomes the third scientist Master--joining Bruce Chalmers of Winthrop and Alwin Pappenheimer of Dunster. He came to Harvard from the Michigan faculty in 1960.
He and Mrs. Liller will move from Belmont this summer into 18th-century Apthorp House, the Adams Master's residence. Liller replaces Reuben Brower, professor of English, who served as Master for 13 years.
The Overseers, an elected body of 30 men, meets seven times a year and is charged with, among other functions, approving all appointments of more than one year's duration. The Overseers are the University's final authority, although most of the week-to-week decision-making of the University is handled by the Corporation, which meets every other week.
The Overseers met yesterday from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. None of the other matters they ruled on yesterday has yet been made public.