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Roso Joins Harvard's Highest and Mightiest

By Peter J. Howe

During his 11 year stint as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Henry Rosovsky was in charge of 6500 undergraduates, about 1000 professors and instructors, and a yearly budget of $180 million.

Now that he's a member of the governing Corporation, he gets all that--and more.

The Corporation, formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, is the University's top governing board. Founded in 1650, it is the oldest self-perpetuating body in the Western Hemisphere.

It has final say over all aspects of University policy, including academic direction, investment of Harvard's endowment and selection of deans and tenured professors. The budgets of Harvard's 10 faculties and libraries, musueums and other departments, totalling over $600 million this year, are all subject to Corporation approval.

And legally, the seven white men--there has never been a woman or minority on the board--own Harvard's $2.5 billion endowment and its 600 buildings.

Under the University's rules, acts of the Corporation are theoretically subject to ratification by the 30-member Board of Overseers, members of which are elected to six-year terms by alumni. In reality, the largely ceremonial Overseers gather only a few times a year and virtually rubber-stamp what the Corporation does.

Before Derek C. Bok became president in 1971, the Corporation was much more heavily involved in the day-to-day management of the University. Bok, however, has managed to alter the role of the Corporation by drastically upgrading Harvard's administration, adding four vice presidents and dozens of other officials. As a result, the Corporation today tends to set overall policy and give deans the latitude to carry it out.

While the body makes all its decisions by consensus, Corporation members tend to have informal areas of expertise. Cleveland tax lawyer Hugh Calkins '45, the 17-year Corporation veteran whom Rosovsky replaces, was most heavily involved in developing Harvard's policy of refusing to divest of stock in companies that do business in South Africa. Robert G. Stone Jr. '45, a New York financier and yachtsman, is the Corporation's fundraising whiz. Charles P. Slichter '45, a noted physicis professor at the University of Illinois, is respected for his knowledge of academic matters, while Treasurer Roderick M. MacDougall is involved heavily with how the University copes with the $640 million of debt it has incurred through bond issues to finance major construction projects.

One issue that continues to dog the Corporation is that of representation. Bok and other members said last spring the group wanted to attract qualified female and minority candidates. But the selection of Rosovsky--while the first Jew--marks the continuation of a perfect streak of white male members for the Corporation.

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