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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Tea Leaves and Taurus

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The CRIMSON has sent its seer in Pnom Penh his annual retainer, and, in return, he has mailed us the following prophecy for 1962:

January

Riots break out in Harvard Yard as freshmen returning from Christmas vacation discover that their rooms are infested with loxasceles laeta, poisonous Latin American spiders escaping from the University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. President Pusey announces that his Asian trip has converted him to "high-caste" Hinduism, and that "there will be no repressive measures taken against our little spider brothers." Acting on his orders to prevent violence, University Police crush the riot with tear gas and truncheons, driving the freshmen back into their spider-infested dorms.

President Kennedy sues Henry Luce for Time's Man of the Year article claiming that Kennedy's qualities "if developed further, may make him a great President." "But I am a great President," Kennedy complains. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. soothes the President by saying he would rather write a biography of Kennedy than Henry Luce.... From Gettysburg, former President Eisenhower telegrams Luce: NOTHING CAN BE DONE WITH THAT FELLAH UNTIL YOU AND ME ARE WILLING TO CONFRONT ONE ANOTHER WITH ANOTHER BELIEVING THAT AS LONG AS PEOPLE ARE MEN, AMERICA IS WHAT MAKES IT. A delegation of Princeton undergraduates calls Eisenhower's statement "a compellingly conservative credo for our troubled times." Eisenhower announces that, if asked, he will run for the presidency in '64.

February

Scattered survivors of the freshman class form a Jubilee Committee in Exile in New York City. They telegram the Harvard Administration: ALL RIGHT WE ARE TWO NATIONS. Prime Minister Nehru writes a letter strongly praising Pusey's "forceful defense of the principles of non-violence." Kennedy cables support of Pusey, too, calling him "a great President," and "little brother." Pusey cables Nehru an impulsive offer of the deanship of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which Nehru declines, calling Pusey "a tower of strength and a pillar of wisdom."

A Gallup Poll finds that Eisenhower and Kennedy are both so well liked that it would threaten the American people to have to choose between them in '64. "The loser's feelings would get hurt, and that's not nice," an Iowan couple is quoted as saying. Reading the results of the poll, Eisenhower promises not to run again for the presidency. "I can't stand to see a grown public cry," he explains. The public and Kennedy calls Eisenhower "a great President, to whom I bear a striking resemblance." Henry Luce cables agreement, and Kennedy withdraws his law suit. "Henry and I--we're like that," says the Man of the Year.

March

Mary I. Bunting becomes "Girl of the Day" on WCOP, and they play her song: "The Dear Lady Twist." ... The Harvard Washington contingent, with the exception of McGeorge Bundy, quits in a body, protesting Washington working hours "We're just not used to a 9 to 5 schedule," Abram Chayes explains. Bundy has another explanation: "They've never had to meet a payroll before." He and Bobby Kennedy issue a joint statement calling the Harvard renegades "soft." "I'm going to send my boys to a school with guts, not some place run by some kind of Hindu nut," Kennedy says. Nehru breaks relations with the U.S., calling Kennedy a "racist," and Ambassador Galbraith a "beanpole." ...Cardinal Cushing wins the Irish sweepstakes and endows a home for old policemen. President Pusey calls Cushing "a great cardinal," and suggests that they hold an "ecumenical summit."

April

Fidel Castro demands the return of the Harvard spiders to Cuba. "They belong to the people of Cuba. We have expropriated them in absentia," Castro insists. He appeals to the UN, which regrets that it has no neutral observers left to send him... 146 Young Americans for Freedom depart Cambridge to fight in the Katangan army. "We are not to be confused with the Peace Corps," their leader explains. "We are not going to help Katanga, we're going to fight for it."

May

Westinghouse and General Electric sponsor a television spectacular on union featherbedding in Newburgh, New York. "Unions have lost touch with morality," Ralph Cordiner, president of GE, explains, "and a free handout is not the American way of being poor. Only through corporation can America reach its purpose." ...President De Gaulle personally leads a march from Paris to the Spanish border protesting the resumption of plastic bomb tests.

The Brattle Theatre management announces a new schedule designed to "please all"; a ninemonth Bergman Festival at both the Brattle (with English sub-titles) and the new Harvard Square Theatre (with dubbed-in English dialogue).

June

President Pusey's first Hindu service in Memorial Chapel is broken up by rioting professors. For three days, Faculty riots sweep up and down the streets of Cambridge. Krishna Menon receives an honorary degree under Kleig lights and the tommy guns of tense University police. The General Education Committee announces that Menon will teach a lower level Humanities course, "as soon as Pusey gets these Christians off his back." Menon outlines his course for a CRIMSON reporter: "I think you will say, when you see my course, 'Oh my goodness me, what a lovely course!' In it, I seek to synthesize the central eastern tradition of suspicion, with the central western tradition of hypocrisy."

July

Edward McCormack battles Ted Kennedy for the Massachusetts Democratic senatorial nomination and loses. Rumors have it that the Kennedys purchased the whole convention, including McCormack. Ted Kennedy steps up the campaign. George Cabot Lodge, the Republican nominee, attacks Kennedy as "one of the idle rich, the silver spooners, and the (so-called) Better People, a Harvard dupe."

August

Governor Volpe calls for a committee to investigate the Bay State's historic statues and draw up a code of pigeon behavior: "We must teach ourselves once again the difference between right and wrong. There is a difference, you know." ... The spiders move to Hayes-Bickford's, where nobody notices them.

September

Schools open all over the country, except for the South. "We made so much progress last year, that we though we'd just set a while and catch our breath," Gov. Faubus says.... Harvard's tuition goes up again. President Pusey warns that he will tolerate no harassment of "our little feathered brothers." Cardinal Cushing agrees, and calls the pigeons "Massachusetts' finest."

October

National politics fills October with the sounds of rallies. President Kennedy stumps the country on his "Peace and Prosperity" platform... In Boston, a microgeneticist is arrested for publishing an "obscene" paper on paramecia reproduction. Harry Levin testifies in her favor, but Judge Lewis Goldberg finds the paper "obscene, indecent, and impure." "The author's descriptive powers are truly impressive, and she rises to great literary heights describing the life cycle of the creatures," Goldberg says. "And then she descends into the filthy gutter." Mary I. Bunting is fined $2,000, and President Pusey announces "with regret" that she will not teach a freshman seminar next year. "After all, the parents," he explains.

November

In a tremendous victory, Kennedy forces sweep the House and the Senate, and there are mutterings about "The House That Jack Packed." ...Richard Nixon loses to Pat Brown in the California gubernatorial race, and calls his defeat "a clear mandate from the people of California that they would rather see me in the White House in '64." There is only one Kennedy defeat: George Cabot Lodge licks Ted Kennedy. "I call it a defeat at the hands of the little man," Lodge explains.... The Loeb Theatre, after trying everything from vaudeville acts to popcorn machines, closes its doors. The building is converted into a dorm for freshmen of the Class of '66.

December

Dean Watson and the Masters of the Houses agree that the spider incident "has solved Harvard's time-honored space problem," and the Administration substitutes a new concept for the old formula of expansion: "liquidation." ...Harvard purchases the MTA yards and President Pusey declares himself "pleased as punch and proud as a peacock," and promises to start construction of a temple within a year. "I think we have never owned so much rolling stock before," he says.... McGeorge Bundy resigns from the Metropolitan Club in Washington. "This has nothing to do with principle, the food there is simply awful," he explains....

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