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A Hall Sampler

By James Cramer, James Gleick, and Nicholas Lemann

A collection of some of Hall's most memorable remarks:

On ambition:

"When I came here, I understood that I would never be president of Harvard. That's not a hangup with me. I knew that when I came. If Harvard gets to the point where a businessman becomes president, then it is a sad day."

On Harvard:

"If you're going to start someplace, start at the top. I considered Harvard really one of the finest universities in the world as far as the product they turn out. Basically, that's what we're here for--to turn out a product."

On getting the job done:

"Of course, Rome wasn't built in a day. 'Course, our team didn't handle that job."

On his job qualifications:

"When they started looking around for a new team someone suggested they look in the hospitality industry, because a guy involved in the administration of a hotel is doing the exact same things he'd be doing at Harvard."

On his frequent staff reshufflings:

"I just don't see myself as a slasher of people. People who do that get slashed themselves sooner or later, and I don't look forward to that."

On saving money:

"As far as our budget goes, Harvard has a cold, while other universities now have pneumonia. If it comes to pneumonia here, we'll have to take a look at more and more of these proposals."

On where he fits in at Harvard:

"A hotel has two parts--front of the house and back of the house. A university has two parts: Out there you walk around and see one part, but under the ground the tunnels, the mechanical parts, the food service, the kitchen, the steam waters--all the things that make the lights go on and the air conidtioning come out that you never see-that's the back of the house. And I took the attitude that if you really know the back of the house you can learn the front of the house."

On the future:

"I'm a marketable commodity now."

Maxim on Hall's office wall:

Sometimes Wrong Decisions Are Made/That Can Be Righted/There Is No Hope For Indecision.

On removing Paul Rouillard as director of Buildings and Grounds:

"I'm not completely at ease with him at the top of B&G. Although the decision really hurt, it is mine. I made it, and nobody forced me to make it.

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