Behind The Scenes

When President Bok took office, he and the Corporation assembled an almost entirely new staff in Mass Hall. Dean Rosovsky didn't have that luxury; the people working under him had all served under the awe-inspiring, pressure-cooker deanship of John T. Dunlop, and Rosovsky had a lot of expectations to live up to. He seems to have done a good job of impressing his staff, who for the most part seem, like most of us, to be more Rosovsky-type than Dunlop-type people. The U-Hall staff this year has been fairly low-key and relaxed, like Rosovsky; people who keep their jobs through the administrations of several bosses have to be somewhat chameleon like to survive.

These are three of the people who work for Dean Rosovsky:

Verna C. Johnson

Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty

Miss Johnson--everyone calls her Miss Johnson--is "generally acknowledged to be the pivot of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences," Dean Rosovsky says. She is the archetypal power behind the throne. She came to Harvard in 1940 ("I hate to boast this," she says), just after she graduated from college, as a junior employee in the dean's office. Three years later, the secretary to the dean left, and she took over the job.


She became an administrative assistant in 1956, before it was fashionable, and now she oversees a staff of four, writes some of Rosovsky's letters and memoranda for him and keeps the records and appointments of the dean in order. If you want to see Rosovsky, you have to go through Miss Johnson, and her ability to provide quick access to the dean in some cases and make him unreachable in others is legendary.

John B. Fox Jr. '59

Special Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty

John Fox is a second-generation Harvard dean--his father, John B. Fox '28, was assistant dean of the Business School most of his life. Fox fils grew up in Arlington, went to Harvard and spent eight years at the Commonwealth Fund in New York before coming back to Cambridge as director of the Office of Graduate and Career Plans.

Fox took the dean's office job in 1971. He is a very private man and won't say why he switched jobs, but a safe guess is that he grew weary of the constant demonstrations at the OGCP to protest corporate recruiters that took place during his tenure there.

Now Fox squeezes his 6'8" frame into a tiny office on the third floor of University Hall every day and works on Faculty legislation and the business of the Faculty Council, Fox is an orderly, precise man who can spend hours writing a letter or memorandum to make sure he gets the wording exactly right, and he likes to work far away from the public eye. But he seems to know, quietly, every factual detail having anything to do with the Faculty.

Robert E. Kaufmann '62

Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Financial Affairs

Bob Kaufmann has a tough job: administering Rosovsky's "no-growth" budget for major departments. "It's difficult to do because of the circumstances," he says. "You can't be cost-effective in a great university. The Faculty members like teaching, and you can't deal with their budget requests in a brusque, cavalier fashion. My job takes lots of time, lots of words, lots of letters, lots of lunches."

Kaufmann graduated from the Business School in 1964, became director of admissions in 1968, and switched to his present job under Dunlop's deanship, in 1971. "Dunlop was very bright and chose to centralize his power," Kaufmann says. "He had an insatiable capacity for work, though he was pleasant and, believe it or not, humorful. He was vigorous, hyperactive, but compassionate. Rosovsky is also very able and very bright, but less interested in centralizing his authority. His style is different and the times are different now. He's more interested in longer-term problems than Dunlop was."