No Surprise--Harvard Still The Wealthiest

DOLLARS:

In case you were worrying, Harvard is still the richest university in the world.

More surprisingly, the University's unrestricted operating accounts showed a small surplus this year for the first time in four years, according to the annual financial report to the Board of Overseers.

The unexpected surplus, $177,000 in a $204 million budget, was apparently caused by a job attrition policy, but what it means--and whether it will continue--are less clear. Unpredictable developments such as a relaxation of this year's economics or a fall in government contracting could make this year's surplus a "False spring." Hale Champion, vice president for Finances, warned Tuesday.

The financial report, which was published the same day, included other ambiguous signs of the times.

The Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority (HEPA), a state agency that helps hospitals and educational institutions raise money for new projects, issued Harvard's first revenue bonds ever on Tuesday.

The $12.5 million bond issue, promptly bought by a brokerage syndicate, will pay for the Broadway and Everest Street Garages, the Science Center's cooling system, and the renovation of the old Continental Hotel at 29 Garden Street.

The University has not yet decided whether future construction--housing facilities or a proposed $53 million Medical Area power plant, for example--will be financed by more HEFA bonds, Champion said Wednesday.

Prominent in the report's list of Harvard investments are the 700,000 shares of Gulf Oil that Afro wants told to project Gulf's involvement in Portuguese Angola.

Despite Afro's divestiture campaign, which culminated in the week long occupation of Massachusetts Hall last Spring, the University sold stock only for profit last year. George F. Bennett '33, the University's treasurer, said Tuesday.

Some of the University's departments did not fare as well as the University. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, for instance, had a $300,000 deficit. But on balance, it was a good year for Harvard financially.