When I visited Harvard during my freshman year of high school, I was impressed. Posters elbowed each other out of the way for viewing space on the jammed notice boards. People strode through the streets purposefully, hurrying off, I presumed, to hear deposed European heads of state, having just left the seminar with anti-war activists who were on the cover of Time last month. Students in the 'estaurants kept up with the latest intellectual trends by reading ponderous tomes over late morning coffee.
Then I came to Harvard as a student myself, and learned the truth. The bulletin boards were overpopulated, that was certain, but the events they advertised didn't exactly turn people away for lack of room. The people hurrying through the streets were running to get to class on time, or maybe to get to the Coop before it closed to buy typing paper. The people in the cafes were reading reserve books from Lamont.
What I'm saying to you who read this column because you think Harvard students are expected to go hear visiting professors discuss long-lost correspondence of long-dead notables is: cool it.
There are exceptions. And there are two or three this week. The first is U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, who will speak at Science Center B on Tuesday, December 6, at 3 p.m. Young has been known to say the unexpected, so a lot of people may go hear him. The other best bets are Christopher Nteta and John Kenneth Galbraith. Nteta is a native of South Africa and a member of the African National Congress. He came to Harvard to study in 1970, and eventually became an assistant professor at Boston State College, but the South African government has revoked his passport because of his political activism. He cannot return to his country. Nteta will speak at the Community Church of Boston, at 602 Commonwealth Ave., on Sunday, December 4 at 11 a.m. The topic of his talk is "The Liberation of South Africa."
Galbraith, among other things, received a purple Cadillac when the Lampoon chose him as Harvard's funniest professor. He will speak at the Harvard Law Forum in the Ames Courtroom of Austin Hall, at the Law School on Thursday, December 1, at 8 p.m. Admission will be $1.50.
Other lectures for the week are:
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1
John Cheever, author of Falconer, will read from his work at 8 p.m. in Paine Hall, behind the Science Center. Admission is $1.50 for students.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3
A seminar on "Planning for Alternative Futures: the Role of Government and Citizens" will take place in the Kirkland Junior Common Room. Alvin Toffler, author of "Future Shock" will speak to the conference at 1:30 p.m. A panel discussion will begin at 2:30, with Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes and others as participants.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
"The Mechanics of Running" will be the topic of a lecture by Thomas McMahon, Associate Professor of Applied Mechanics, at 8 p.m. in Science Center D. McMahan is the author of Principles of American Nuclear Chemistry: A Novel.
"Psychology of Religion and Asian Studies: The William James Legacy" will be the subject of a talk by Eugene Taylor, Resident Graduate in the Divinity School, in the Braun Room at the Divinity School, 45 Francis Street, at 2 p.m.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
"The Cult Center over the Tomb of St. Francis of Assisi and the Concept of its Painted Program" will be the topic of a talk by Professor Hans Belting of the University of Heidelberg, Germany at 3 p.m. in the Christian Room at the Fogg Art Museum.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
Everett Cherrington Hughes is a sociologist who is a member of both the Brandeis and Boston College faculties. He has done research on multi-ethic societies, especially in Canada. Hughes will speak on "The Social Scientist" as part of the Cambridge Forum's "Great Vocations" lecture series, at 8 p.m. in the First Parish in Cambridge at 3 Church Street.
"The Cost of a Risk-Free Society" will be the topic of a discussion by Fred Singer, a University of Virginia professor, at 4:15 p.m. at 9 Bow Street.
"Brer Rabbit in the Collection of Joel Chandler Harris, E.C.L. Adams and William John Faulkner" will be discussed by Northeastern University professor Sterling Stuckey at 7:30 p.m. in the ground floor of 77 Dunster Street.
"Living Light: Its Chemical Basis and Biological Functions" will be the topic of J. Woodland Hastings, professor of Biology and Master of North House in Science Center B at 8 p.m.