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Over 1200 freshmen got their first look at some of the men who administer Harvard Wednesday morning. Dean Whitlock, Dr. Chase N. Peterson '52, former dean of Admissions and presently vice president for Alumni Affairs, and F. Skiddy von Stade '38, dean of freshmen, spoke at what was billed as a "required meeting" in Sanders Theatre.
Peterson, introduced by von Stade as "the man responsible for your presence here," told the freshmen that they were not the finest 1600 students in the country. He explained that Harvard students are selected for reasons other than College Board scores.
But, he added, students are not admitted for reasons of diversity alone. "Being from the darkest part of an inner city ghetto will not help you get into Harvard," he said.
Petersen said the admissions process consists of two steps. Prospective applicants are first put into an applicants pool, from which they are then either admitted or rejected.
"We make a deliberate effort to recruit around the country to get people who are qualified but unaware of Harvard into the pool," he explained. "But the admissions process takes no account of this recruiting."
Peterson was well received by the crowd. He punctuated his speech with anecdotes and concluded to a standing ovation. In one of his humorous asides, he described his role in a "Pogo for President" riot in the Square during his undergraduate years.
Dean Whitlock explained the University's position on educational innovation. He said that in spite of Harvard's conservative image, the individual student has "tremendous flexibility" in selecting courses and programs of study.
As examples of educational innovations offered by the College. Whitlock cited the Freshman Seminar program, House courses, independent studies, and the construct-your-own major Special Studies program.
"Individuals can get around the conservatism of the institution," Whitlock told the freshmen.
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