Belfer the Center


Speeches by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R--Tenn.) and President Bok and music provided by the Harvard Band will celebrate today the dedication of the Kennedy School's new $7 million Belfer Center for Public Management.

Nine-hundred people are expected to attend the 11 a.m. ceremonies, according to organizer Bayley F. Mason '51, Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs and Development.

The five-story center, on the corner of Eliot and John F. Kennedy Streets, features the plush, 175-seat Harry Starr Auditorium, the 80-seat Edwin H. Land Hall, the Alexander Graham Bell Hall, and the Belfer Center's version of the ARCO Forum, dubbed "Town Hall".

All week workmen have been putting final touches on the building, which will expand the K-School's facilities by almost a half.

The Belfer Center will house eight executive education programs, three research centers, and several administrative offices.

Footing more than half of the bill for the Center are three major donors: principal donor Robert A. Belfer, president of the Belco Petroleum Corporation, Washington attorney Frank A. Weil '53; and the Kresge Foundation.

"Some people say that education is better when everyone is in sack cloths and ashes. That's fine when you are reading Plato by yourself," says Mason. "But you can't teach in facilities that are not up to speed...You can't get 50 students to interact well without good facilities."


One reason the Belfer Center was built was the rapid growth of the Kennedy School.

"The Kennedy School has been the only growth industry at Harvard," Mason stated. "We had to have new space right away."

In the past five years, enrollment has risen from 275 students to more than 600, the number of faculty has doubled, and participation in the "Executive Program" has quadrupled, according to Mason.

Although the total number of degree students and faculty has recently leveled off, Mason points out that the K-School has struggled to meet the existing demand for space. The K-School had been forced to rent space along Mt. Auburn Street and elsewhere.

"You can't have a research center with half your center working above a shoe store on Mt. Auburn Street and the other half in the Signet Building," Mason said. For example, the Energy and Environmental Policy Center, which move to the Belfer along with the Center for Business and Government and the newly founded Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy, had satellite offices across from the post office.


Two floors are also given over to what officials call the K-School's fastest growing component, the Executive Research Programs.