Meet Mr. Burns

Dedicated Lamont lovers hardly pay any attention to John, a daily fixture in the Ginsberg Reading Room. Unlike most of the other scholars, John is not bent over stacks of books or Facebook stalking on his laptop: instead, he prefers to peruse Lamont’s extensive newspaper-on-a-stick collection. Sporting his signature sideburns, students know the enigmatic John as an off-beat campus celebrity.

The 64-year-old Boston native, who did not give his last name, treks over to Cambridge from nearby Fresh Pond nearly seven days a week. Upon arrival, John makes himself at home and settles into his usual routine. There he’ll remain for hours at a time, occasionally napping, getting up only to exchange reading material.

“I like this library,” he says. It’s just that simple.

Random though he may seem to studious undergraduates, John told FM that he graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1968. From there, he taught mathematics at Northern Illinois University for twenty years before returning to his hometown. For the past seventeen years, he has been doing research for an economist at the Kennedy School of Government, a job which provides him with swipe access to his favorite library. As for the Wolverine-esque sideburns, today’s impressive product is the result of several long years of grooming.

When he’s not busy reading the paper, John shows his support for Crimson athletics. His sport of choice? Women’s volleyball. “He came by himself to every home game this year, and usually sat in the front row,” says Chelsea L. Ono Horn ’10, a member of the team. “We’d just say, ‘Look, there’s Chops again.’”