Bott, Dunster House Master, To Take Sabbatical in Spring

Raoul Bott will vacate his position as master of Dunster House to go on sabbatical in France next term but will resume his duties when he returns in the fall of 1982.

John T. Tate Jr., Perkins Professor of Mathematics and an associate of the House for three years, and his wife, Karin, are scheduled to serve as acting comasters of the House during the spring.

Though the Corporation has yet to approve the Tates' selection--which Bott recommended to University housing officials--approval of the couple is "just an administrative matter," Martha Coburn, associate dean of the College, said yesterday.

Bott, who began his fourth year as master this month, said yesterday he delayed taking the departmental sabbatical--for which he became eligible two years ago--until this year because he wanted to remain master until the Class of '81 was graduated.

Members of the Class of '81 were sophomores in Dunster when Bott became Master, and he explained that he postponed his sabbatical "so that the people who were there when I came in, I saw through to the end."

Bott announced his sabbatical to this year's House residents at a welcoming ceremony last week. He predicted yesterday that the Tates "will work out just fine."

"They'll just continue things the way they're going--which is good," Bott said. He called the Tates "very old friends and very nice people," adding, "I twisted their arms and they agreed" to become acting co-masters.

Bott and his wife, Phyllis, will spend the spring term in Paris. They will also visit Bures-sur-Yvette, France, were Bott will "do some teaching and research" at the Institute des Hauts Etudes.

He called rumors that he would not return to the House "entirely untrue," saying he intends to stay at least until his five-year term expires in June 1983.

Saying he is looking forward to becoming co-master but that "I suppose it takes a lot of time," Tate said yesterday he expects to play a caretaker role until Bott returns: "I don't have any big plays--it's really the Botts' operation."


Tate said he has not been active in many House activities but that his wife has participated in the House's "strong" music activities. Describing his role at the House, Tate said, "I attend various functions and go down there for lunch maybe once a week."

Though they currently do not reside in the House, the Tates will move into the masters' residence by intercession.

It is not uncommon for House masters to take sabbaticals during their five-year terms, Coburn said, adding that departments--not housing officials--determine eligibility for leaves. She said, however, that she believes Bott is the only Master in the past two years to take a sabbatical