Rudenstine's Book Hits Shelves

As Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine prepares to give his final speech to students at Harvard’s Commencement ceremony Thursday, his speeches are now available in a hard cover anthology, Pointing Our Thoughts: Reflections on Harvard and Higher Education, 1991-2001.

The book became available last month in what University spokesperson Joe Wrinn calls a “soft release.”

“It wasn’t an official grand opening type of thing,” Wrinn says. “I doubt you’ll be seeing him on Oprah or any of the other book tours. That’s not his style.”

Though Rudenstine wrote the speeches in the book, he credits staff members with putting the collection together.

“A lot of people had the idea that Neil had written a lot, voluminously and beautifully, and that he has a distinctive humanistic style thatwould be nice to preserve in an accessible form,” says Clayton Spencer, a Radcliffe dean who also works in the Office of the President.

In light of this goal, Spencer says, Rudenstine decided to publish the book on the Internet as well. The entire 377-page volume can be downloaded from the Office of the President’s website free of charge.

The book spans Rudenstine’s Harvard tenure, including his thoughts on the importance of diversity and the role of science and technology in higher education.

The title of the book comes from the 1994 kickoff speech for the University’s Capital Campaign-the $2.6 billion fundraising effort that many cite as the hallmark of Rudenstine’s presidency.