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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Griswold Seeks Aid For Non-Scientists

By Richard B. Ruge

Erwin N. Griswold has called on the University to support the social sciences and humanities through private funds.

In his 1961-2 report, the Law School dean said that the "time has come when the University, if it is to remain truly a University, should begin to take affirmative steps to redress the imbalance" among the several fields of learning.

Griswold's report again focuses attention on the controversial issues of federal aid to education raised by the Cheever report, "Harvard and the Federal Government," and discussed by President Pusey in his June speech to the alumni association.

The Cheever report indicates, Griswold said, that virtually all the facilities which were built, modernized, and remodeled with federal funds are in the fields of the natural sciences and medicine.

Griswold said that he is not "undulyenvious" of fields so aided, not does he have any complaints about what the University has done to offset the imbalance. But he suggested that if the University is to accept large sums from the government largely for the support of science, "does it not thereby obligate itself to develop support of somewhat the same order for other fields of learning which do not currently attract governmental largesse?"

Emphasize "Positive Duty"

Griswold noted that he was not speaking of law alone, but also of economics, government, history, classics, literature, fine arts, languages, philosophy, education, design, public administration--fields which Harvard has a "positive duty to strengthen."

He emphasized that he was not calling for equally large governmental grants to the social sciences and humanities. Such suport is often "oiented or restricted and successful research and development in [these fields] needs to be free from control far more than is true with respect to similar efforts in the natural sciences or in medicine."

To find this private support is the "real challenge of universities, especially 'private' universities, in this now lengthening post-war period," Griswold stated. The natural sciences can develop a "balance of terror" but cannot alone save this "beleagured planet. We need, too, all the arts of understanding, of human relations, of persuasion, of negotiation and adjustment, of dealing with variables far more numerous and complex than those with which the natural sciences deal, or which are capable of resolution by computer."

Griswold quoted from the Phi Beta Kappa address given at Commencement by Gerard Piel, the publisher of Scientific American: "But all too suddenly and unprepared, we have come to the fork in the road. The progress of which I speak has disclosed the noblest and most generous ends to human life and has placed in our hands the means to accomplish them here on this earth, [and] has also given the power of irrevocable decision to our historic capacity for cruelty and folly."

"How can we develop the best probability that we will take the right fork in the road, and keep on it?" Griswold asked. "We clearly need the humanities to develop the spirits of men, and the social sciences to develop their understading of human problems and their skill in dealing with these problems. Surely the law, as the most organized and best developed of our means of ordering society has an important place in this grand task."

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