Several hundred Harvard Faculty members, alumni and friends filled Memorial Church yesterday in a tribute to former Harvard President James Bryant Conant '14, who died January 11 at the age of 84.
President Bok was one of several speakers who praised Conant's contributions to Harvard and the nation as an educator, scientist and diplomat. Conant served as Harvard president from 1933 to 1953.
George B. Kistiakowsky, Lawrence Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, said Conant was "A cool Yankee who could be a warm friend." He added that Conant "made an indelible mark on this century's America. For that, we are all enriched."
Francis Keppel '38, senior lecturer on Education and former dean of the School of Education, lauded Conant's role in advancing the quality of public education in this country, which prompted The New York Times to call him "schoolmaster to American education."
Bok and John H. Finley '25, Eliot Professor of Greek Literature Emeritus, discussed Conant's contributions to Harvard during his 20 years as President. His accomplishments included development of the General Education program, merger of classes for Harvard and Radcliffe students, and structuring of the previously undefined tenure selection system.