President Bok announced today that economic historian Henry Rosovsky, Taussig Research Professor of Economics, will be the new permanent dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, succeeding acting dean Franklin L. Ford on July 1.
The appointment, announced at a 2 p.m. press conference this afternoon, puts the 45-year-old Rosovsky at the reins of the University's oldest faculty and effectively makes him the second most powerful person within the Harvard Administration.
Rosovsky's appointment ends a three-month search for a new permanent dean which began when John T. Dunlop resigned as dean of the Faculty in late January to become chairman of the Cost of Living Council in Washington.
In announcing the appointment, President Bok said that Rosovsky was his first choice to be dean, but officials within the Administration have privately conceded that Rosovsky was the only serious candidate on Bok's list since Gardner E. Lindzey, chairman of the Psychology and Social Relations Department, decided to withdraw from the race for the deanship in order to accept an appointment at the University of Texas.
Bok said that he made his final decision on the deanship during Harvard's recess last month when he was vacationing in Florida.
Bok cited Rosovsky's proven administrative abilities and his serious educational concerns as the two qualities most important in the selection.
"One of the things that mattered most to me was that the person selected had serious concerns about the quality of education and research," Bok said. "I am assured Henry isn't a faculty member who cares only about his own research."
As evidence of Rosovsky's educational concerns, Bok pointed to the new dean's chairmanship of the Faculty committee which drew up the original report mandating the formation of an Afro-American Studies Department in 1969. Bok said that he had received "very, very high recommendations" from the people who worked with Rosovsky on the Afro committee report, which became known to the public as "the Rosovsky committee."
Since the Afro committee was disbanded, Rosovsky's own administrative and educational pursuits have received less attention. He served as chairman of the Economics Department from 1969 until last year and as an elected member of the Faculty Council, the powerful Faculty legislative subcommittee, from 1970 to 1973.
In the fall of 1971, Rosovsky was offered an appointment as president of Brandeis University, but he rejected the offer, saying simply that he did not want to leave Harvard.
Aside from his administrative ability and educational concerns, Rosovsky's academic distinction made him a good choice for the post, Bok said.
A Good Grasp
"One thing that's terribly important is to have someone who is capable of getting a good grasp of a wide variety of fields," Bok said. "Henry has done research and taught on Western Europe, Russia, and the Far East. He's an historian as well as an economist, and has a grasp of several languages."
The Corporation approved Rosovsky's appointment at its last meeting early last month. Following the Corporation meeting, Bok extended a formal offer to Rosovsky, who then formally accepted. The appointment was made official Monday when the Board of Overseers ratified the Corporation decision.
The votes in both governing boards were unanimous, Bok said.
Rosovsky lives in Newton with his wife and three children.
He was born in the free city of Danzig (now called Gdansk, Poland) in 1972 of Russian-Jewish parentage. He is the first Jew ever to hold the position of dean of the Faculty.