Fan Asks Harvard For Disclosure


I am a big aficionado of Harvard! I do my best to keep up--so far this school year, I have attended eleven inter-colliegiate athletic competitions in six sports. I do walk the Yard whenever I am in Boston and often dine at Lowell or Eliot.

I do like much of what I see and for that reason I keep coming back and keep responding to the call for contributions.

I applaud President Rudenstine. He is a hero. His "office hours" for undergraduates as well as his regular meetings with the Crimson show caring and respect. He enhances confidence in Harvard as an institution and I am ecstatic that he is back.

Central to Harvard's viability is its endowment. To alumni, this endowment is a harbinger of the use of contributions. To students, the endowment is a leading indicator of what to or not to expect during their residence in Cambridge.

Because of the endowment, Harvard cannot separate itself from the news media. No longer buried in the financial pages, such money losing news as the Mexican bail-out, Orange County and derivatives, the fall of Baring Brothers and the refinancing of "safe" bond funds by their respective Wall Street sponsors are now out front. One does not even have to be able to read to know of these events! These are scary events even for the pros.

Unfortunately, Harvard does separate itself. This is particularly troublesome for Harvard Management, the controller of the funds, does have a bit of a reputation of the wild west. Even more worrisome is that its name does appear at times in connection with a bit of dismal investment news.

Harvard Management, unlike President Rudenstine, does not "office hours" and does limit its periodic newsletter to some 300 screened alumni. Occassionally, Harvard Management does visit with potential mega-buck contributors at Harvard functions. As a personal aside, I have found President Rudenstine to be a far better letter writer!

I, for one, have been interested in what I perceive to be the enigma of Harvard Management for some four years. I have yet to receive responsive answers to my questions. In this day of uncertainty in financial markets, I would like to think that I am not alone in wondering where goes Harvard Management.

The old saying that no news is good news never seems to hold water in the financial arena. How do we 10,000 men of Harvard get the custodian of our contributions to talk in more than two letter words? Did not those funds start with us! Albert F. Gordon '59