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President Emeritus Nathan Marsh Pusey '28, and his wife Anne Woodward Pusey, headed a list of eight honorary degree recipients at today's 321st Commencement Exercises in Tercentenary Theatre.
Pusey, who retired last June 30, was joined by five other men and two women who received honorary degrees. Two recipients--MIT economist Paul A. Samuelson and Elma Lewis, the director of the National Committee of Afro-American Artists--are from the Boston area.
Other recipients were: novelist Saul Bellow, Canadian educator Northrup Frye, British diplomat Roy H. Jenkins, and educator James A. Shannon.
The University bestowed 12 honorary degrees last year--to ten men and two women.
Pusey retired last year to head the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City. He announced his retirement early in 1970--ten months after the April 1969 takeover of University Hall--and thereby put into gear one of the most elaborate search procedures for a successor ever devised. Another of today's degree recipients, Paul Samuelson, was among those considered by the Corporation to replace Pusey.
Pusey came to Harvard in 1954, succeeding James B. Conant '14, and during his 17-year tenure. Harvard's growth statistics were perhaps the most impressive of any university in the United States. The University's annual budget increased from $39 million to $188 million, the number of endowed chairs increased twofold to 277, and the Federal share of the budget grew from one tenth to one third.
As President, Pusey rebuilt the Divinity School, recruiting men like Paul Tillich and Krister Stendhal, and he provided new housing for the Education and Design Schools. Under his leadership, Harvard built skyward for the first time; Pusey oversaw the completion of Leverett and Mather Houses, as well as William James Hall. The Science Center outside the Yard--scheduled for completion next fall--is the last of the building projects planned under the Pusey Administration.
But for all of his ability to raise money and coordinate growth, Pusey lost touch with the student body--and for all practical purposes, the faculties--after the mid 60s. He provided central services, but not educational leadership. And, after 1969, he was isolated in Massachusetts Hall with only a few close aides on whom to lean; even his administrative abilities were faltering amid increasing dissension within the University. The Corporation, and its appointed emissary--Archibald Cox '34, Williston Professor of Law--took an ever-expanding role in the day-to-day operations of the University.
Today, Pusey came back to Harvard to receive a traditional Doctor of Laws. The citation read: "Patient teacher, man of faith, for 18 years our generous President--farsighted, compassionate, courageous; through his leadership the capacities of Harvard were larger and our nation's goals for education confirmed."
Pusey, age 71, first came to Harvard as an undergraduate, receiving an A.B. in 1928; he later was awarded a Ph.D. in Classics, in 1937. He then taught at Scripps College, Wesleyan University, and Lawrence College, where he was president from 1944 until 1953. He was born in Council Bluff, Iowa.
Anne Woodward Pusey, the proper and dignified wife of the former President, today was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters. The citation read: "Gracious and radiant lady, devoted wife and mother; her friendly concern for the families of Harvard made a true partnership of the presidency."
In addition to her official duties as Pusey's wife, Anne Pusey was known for her helpfulness to younger faculty members and to graduate and foreign students in the University. The tea she and Dr. Pusey hosted for each incoming freshman class never failed to awe half of the newcomers, amuse others and leave still others altogether bewildered.
Periodically throughout the school year, a brief note would appear on the front page of The Crimson inviting faculty members to Sunday afternoon tea at 17 Quincy Street, where the Puseys resided for 17 years and reared three children. Their son, James R. Pusey '62, is currently a teaching fellow in East Asian Studies here.
For many years, Pusey served as a trustee of the International Students Association of Greater Boston; she was also a member of the board of the Cambridge Community Center, the Avon Home, and she was a volunteer worker at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Harvard's teaching hospital in Roxbury.
She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1936.
Two honorary Doctor of Letters degrees were awarded this morning. Saul Bellow, the author of Mister Sammler's Planet. Herzog, Henderson the Rain King and The Adventures of Augie March, among others, is generally regarded as one of American's finest writers. Age 57, he was born in Lachine, Quebec, in 1915, and received a B.S. from Northeastern University in 1937.
Bellow has taught English and creative writing at Pestalozzi-Froebel Teachers College in Chicago, where he now resides, the University of Minnesota, Yale University, Bard College and Princeton. He was a Fellow of Branford College at Yale.
The citation for Bellow read: "A great American writer who depicts with sympathy the human comedy and brings us uncomfortably to face with ourselves--yet always on the side of life."
The other Doctor of Letters degree went to Northrup Frye, a professor of English at the University of Toronto who, in addition to being one of Canada's foremost educators is a critic and author.
Frye, formerly the principal of Victoria College, is the author of Fear Symmetry, Anatomy of Criticism. The Return of Eden, and A Study of English Romanticism. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Toronto and a M.A. from Oxford University. He was ordained to the ministry of the United Church of Canada in 1936.
Frye's citation read: "A brilliant literary theorist whose original and critical mind has ever been devoted to the concerns of education."
The only Doctor of Arts degree awarded today was presented to Elma Lewis, the black community leader and the founder-director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, which serves 325,000 people annually in 20 programs connected with the arts.
Lewis is also the founder-director of the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Roxbury, the teaching division of the NCAAA. Born in 1922, she received a BLI degree from Emerson in 1943 and a M.Ed. from Boston University a year later. She holds honorary degrees from four colleges--Colby, Boston College, Anna Marie College, and Emerson. She is a fellow of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters.
The citation for Lewis read: "She is a powerful voice of Afro-America. Her artistry and energy have brought fresh impetus to an ancient strain within our total culture."
One of the three Doctor of Laws presented went to Roy Harris Jenkins, the highly principled former Deputy Leader of the British Labor Party. He resigned only a few months ago in a dispute with British Prime Minister Harold Wilson over the Common Market. In England, Jenkins is known as an almost too-highly-civilized intellectual.
Jenkins has held many posts in the British government: a member of Parliament from 1948 to 1950; Minister of Aviation from 1964-1965; Home Secretary from 1965 to 1967; and, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1967 to 1970. The author of several major political studies--among them, Mr. Atlee, An Interim Biography. H. H. Asquith, and Pursuit of Progress--he is a vigorous advocate of the Common Market.
Jenkins's citation was: "Scholar and leader of politics and politicians: forthright, high-principled partisan; constant friend of unity in Europe and peace in the world."
Paul Anthony Samuelson, the Nobel Prize winning MIT economist, received the third Doctor of Laws. A member of the Rand Corporation and a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board, he was a consultant to the National Resources Planning Board during World War II and a member of the War Production Board in 1945. Age 57, he holds an A.B. from Chicago University and a Ph.D. from Harvard.
His citation: "From the economic galaxy of Cambridge his star has illuminated the path-ways of myriad students, inspired generations of economists, and provided direction for presidents."
The final degree, the only Doctor of Science, was awarded to James Augustus Shannon, the educator and medical investigator who helped shape governmental policy toward medical research after World War II. Director of the National Institutes of Health from 1955 to 1968, he was associate director of the National Heart Institute from 1949 to 1952. In 1949, he received the Presidential Medal for Merit from President Truman.
Shannon, born in Hollis, N.Y., holds an A.B. from Holy Cross and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from NYU. He was cited by President Bok: "Under his guiding hand, the arm of government has bent wisely and usefully to the service of medical science."
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