As the rains let up for a few minutes yesterday afternoon, Lucius N. Littauer '78 patted the cement with a silver trowel to conclude the ceremonies of laying the corner stone for the Littauer Center of Public Administration.
More than 100 people were gathered around the crimson-draped platform as President Conant rose to speak in the light rain that was still falling. Characterizing the new Graduate School as "Harvard's response to the general challenge of the times, he pointed out that it was made possible only through the generosity of "a loyal and devoted son of Harvard."
Although plans must remain essentially tentative, President Conant foresees a bright future, "if a group of learned men, experts in many fields, can be measured by their collective skill."
Williams Wants New Method
Realizing that here we are following where other universities have already made notable progress, John H. Williams, Nathaniel Ropes Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration, stated that "our contribution is to offer a new method rather than to answer a new need."
Dean Williams foresees the "Littauer Center growing into a real center for men in the public service whether federal, state, or local, and for men within the social sciences, whatever their particular specialty, who are engaged upon research in broad public problems."
Littauer Sees "Milestone"
Mr. Littauer, who gave the $2,500,000 to establish the school, described the laying of this stone as an "important milestone here at Harvard and in public life. The completion of this building should point to the day when public office, in the hands of broadly educated and highly expert public administrators, will really become a public trust."
"I anticipate that this will become a school to train leaders, and, through them, the people at large how to translate democratic ideals of administration into living realities," he continued, making his fundamental object the improvement of public administration through making the government service popular as a life's vocation.
Stressing the future as a quest for progressive perfection in government, Mr. Littauer is confident that "here capable men will be taught how to improve and administer the wide range of government activities, competently and efficiently, and to carve new and better paths in the pattern of democracy."
"Democracy Can Be Efficient"
Reaffirming his belief that democracy can be made efficient, Mr. Littauer descended to spread the mortar for the cornerstone and the photographers. "This is for history," President Conant reassured him, as he held his pose, trowel in hand, for several minutes.
In conclusion two workmen in spotless white overalls applied more mortar and guided the stone into place with a professional air. President Conant announced that the stone was properly laid.
Among the distinguished guests were: M. A. DeWolfe, Nathan Hayward and Gaspar G. Bacon, overseers; Jerome D. Greene, Secretary to the Corporation, Henry L. Shattuck, Fellow of the College, William H. Claflin, Jr. Treasurer, Wallace B. Donham, Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration, James McC. Landis, Dean of the Faculty of Law, George D. Birkhoff, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Henry W. Holmes, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, George F. Plimpton, Associate Dean of the College, George H. Chase, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Richard M. Gummere, Chairman of the Committee on Admissions; Professor Alvin H. Hansen, E. Pendleton Herring, Arthur N. Holcombe, Edward S. Mason, Aldrich Durant, Business Manager, Henry R. Shepley, architect and Frank G. Thomson, donor of several recent scholarships