Twenty-five years ago, Thomas C. Hayes '65 wanted to leave Harvard so badly that he even missed his own graduation.
Today Hayes teaches electronics in the same university he says "thoroughly crushed" him.
"I didn't know where I was going to end up," he says. "I just wanted to get away from the oppression of senior year. [Where I ended up] was a surprise to me."
And Hayes is not the only member of the Class of '65 who has remained at Harvard beyond his undergraduate years. These graduates say that although they have seen the University change tremendously, it is still much the same is it was 25 years ago.
Howard E. Gardner '65, who works at the School of Education, says he stayed at Harvard because he did not want to go home.
"I came from an educationally-deprived area in Pennsylvania--Scranton--the coal-mining region," Gardner says. "My parents were uneducated...college was a total revelation...It was an intoxicating experience [that made it] impossible to go back."
Similarly, Margaret H. Bean-Bayog '65, psychiatrist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, stayed at Harvard because the area was more progressive than her hometown.
"Every time there was a reason to leave, there was a better reason to stay," she says. "[Although] my father and grandfather were professors of medicine at the University of Iowa, I would've been an odd duck there. Women doctors were not common."
"I also stayed because either I was in training or I was in a relationship. I trained for hundreds of years," she adds. "And I like New England. I have 20 years of relationships with people here."
The other lifelong Harvardians express a similarly overwhelming sense of allegiance--either to specific persons or to the institution itself.
James M. Herzog '65, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says his goal after graduation was to be able to make a contribution to Harvard.
"[I hoped that] the pleasure of being at Harvard would lead to repaying it," he says. "I succeeded by being an analyst, a teacher, by being for students and colleagues. And I hope that this will continue to grow."
For Hayes, whose escape from Harvard eventually led him to scoop ice cream for proprietor Steve, "a good fellow," says "good people" brought him back to Harvard.
"Good individuals in the Physics Department kept me here," he says. "And the students are fun to teach. My quarrel is with the teachers. I've given up looking for good institutions."
Gardner bemoans the lack of institutional loyalty. "It's important for some people to stay to maintain an institutional memory or identity," he says. "Harvard represents an institution which has endured and which more-or-less works. [Up to about 30 years ago,] people rarely left their institution. Now there are no institutional loyalties, and Harvard is a victim of this."