Nathan Marsh Pusey '28 will address Harvard for the last time today as its President, as the University observes its 320th Commencement exercises.
The University plans to confer a total of 4231 degrees in all departments, including for the first time 23 Associates in Arts in Extension Studies.
This is only the second time in the University's history that Radcliffe women will participate in the Commencement exercises. Last year was the first time that Radcliffe and Harvard held joint ceremonies.
A peaceful protest asking for equal admissions of Harvard men and Radcliffe women is planned for Commencement, and organizers of the protest say they are encouraged by the favorable response which Radcliffe and Harvard students and their parents have shown towards the demand.
Radcliffe women will pin to the backs of their gowns a silk-screened stencil of the female biological symbol with either a fist or an equals sign inside the circle to dramatize their protest. Harvard men and others supporting the demand will wear armbands with an equals sign stenciled to it.
Over 90 per cent of the Radcliffe women who are wearing caps and gowns have picked up the silk-screened stencils. Organizers of the protest made 1100 armbands, and by noon yesterday less than 10 were left.
Carol R. Sternhell '71, one of the Class Day speakers and an organizer of the protest, said yesterday, "Once you get past all the nationalizations, the only reason people oppose equal admissions is that they don't believe that women are worth educating as much as men. That's why we have to fight, and it's too bad we have to fight Harvard about it."
Pusey, who is leaving Harvard two years before the mandatory retirementage because of a severe loss of confidence by students, faculty, and administrators in his ability to govern the University effectively, will head the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York.
He will be joined at the Commencement ceremonies by both his predecessor (James B. Conant '13) and his successor (Derek C. Bok). This is the first time in more than a century that three Harvard Presidents will be present at a Harvard Commencement.
The day's events will begin at 9:15 a. m. with the march from the Old Yard into Tercentenary Theatre. The University Band will lead the procession, followed by the Sheriff of Middlesex County, John J. Buckley, and the Sheriff of Suffolk County, Thomas Eisenstadt.
Immediately behind the Sheriffs will be Pusey and University Marshal William G. Anderson. Behind them will be President Emeritus Conant and President-designate Bok. They will be followed by members of the Corporation and the Board of Overseers and by the recipients of honorary degrees.
Francis W. Sargent, Governor of Massachusetts, is supposed to precede the honorary degree winners. Sargent, however, is ill and will not be able to attend Harvard's Commencement.
Buckley, who refused to lead last year's Commencement because he said he did not want to wear the ceremonial regalia, will open and close this year's Commencement-but minus the traditional sword.
The Sheriff's only duty at Commencement is to reply to the Marshal's cry, "Sheriff, pray give us order," by rapping his sword three times on the platform and crying, "Let the meeting be in order." It is unclear what Buckley will use to strike the platform in lien of his sword.
Of the 4231 degrees to be conferred today, 1336 will be awarded to Harvard and Radcliffe seniors (1066 to Harvard, 270 to Radcliffe).
Seventy-seven per cent of the men will graduate with honors, while 88 per cent of the women will receive honors degrees. Two-hundred and twelve men (20 per cent) will graduate magna cum laude, and 49 (5 per cent) will graduate summa cum laude. From Radcliffe, 88 women (33 per cent) will receive magna degrees, and 9 (4 per cent) will graduate summa.