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Faculty Profile

An Ideal at Stake

By Frank B. Ensign jr.

The man who currently heads Harvard's vast scholarship program has one big headache--inflation. Francis Skiddy von Stade, Jr. '38, Chairman of the Committee on Scholarships, has been faced with this problem since he returned from naval service in 1946. In the last ten years, the "cost of college living" has increased 50%, from $1,000 a year to $1,700 per student. During the same period, scholarship stipends have only been raised 17%.

During van Stade's first years as Chairman, 700 men applied to Harvard for aid. Last year, von Stade's office was faced with 1,300 qualified applicants. Now that progressive income and inheritance taxes have just about eliminated private philanthropy on a large scale, the capital funds at von Stade's disposal have remained the same. During the war years, there was little demand for scholarships when the undergraduate body was predominantly military, and scholarship income was placed in a reserve fund. This fund has been augmenting current scholarship income since 1946, but it will be used up during the next academic year. Then, the Scholarship Chairman's problem will be greater since he will have even less money to distribute than now.

In spite of this gloomy future, von Stade enjoys his work very much. "After being graduated from Harvard, I decided that I wanted to teach. I was an instructor at my old school in New Hampshire, St. Paul's, for a year. After that, I did a year of graduate work at the University of North Carolina and then returned to Harvard to work in Dean Hanford's office. I came here because I thought I would get more gratification out of working with students of college age. And I am tremendously interested in the ideal of this institution--to give the best man possible the best education possible regardless of his financial background." This year von Stade is also Acting Master of Kirkland House where he enjoys being with students on a more informal basis than in his office in University Hall. Mr. and Mrs. von Stade have recently acquired a permanent guest in the Master's House, an adopted on, Christopher, age ten months.

When he was an undergraduate, the Scholarship Chairman spent much of his leisure time playing polo, but "I'm on a horse only a couple of times a year now." During week-ends, he goes to his mother-in-law's farm in New Hampshire, where "I enjoy myself by shooting in the Fall, chopping wood in the Winter, and trying to pile up as small a deficit as possible on the farm during the rest of the year. New England farms are not paying propositions."

Having turned down over 1,000 qualified scholarship applicants last year, von Stade is using every means possible to get more money. He is presently checking on the advisability of asking former scholarship holders to reimburse the University for the aid they received while in college. He asserts, "Without more funds, we will have to reduce the number of awards, particularly to entering freshmen. This reduction cannot help but affect adversely the all-round quality of the undergraduate body."

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