Trials and Tribulations

"You [students] are here for four years, I'm here for a lifetime, and the institution is here forever," is a line former Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky seems to throw out several times each week.

The no-longer startling toss came again yesterday during a tournament of nostalgia called "the View from University Hall: Reflections of Five Deans."

Other symposia scrutinized the university's attitude toward realities, racial and ethnic minorities; evaluated that much-maligned measure of intelligence, the IQ; and considered the likely fallout of the computer explosion.

Five of the six Deans of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences discussed yesterday the trials, tribulations and delights that the job which was created 43 years ago entails.

The men, who all earned their undergraduate degrees at colleges other than Harvard, reminisced about their terms and emphasized the importance of academic freedom that Harvard allows.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences A. Michael Spence moderated the symposium entitled, "View from University Hall: Reflections of Five Deans."

"Sitting in University Hall 5 was, in effect, sitting in on the best classroom in the world," said McGeorge Bundy, dean from 1953 to 1961. He explained one of the hazards of the job: "If you make a mistake, you will walk past him every day of your life."

The Dean of the Faculty must try to strike a balance "between making sure we keep track of our opportunities and stay on the cutting edge of them," said Franklin L. Ford, dean from 1962 to 1970.

He added, "Harvard belongs to none of us because it belongs to us all."

Although John T. Dunlop served the shortest time of any Dean of the Faculty--from 1970 to 1973--he has been at the University since 1938, longer than any of the other panelists, he said.

When Henry Rosovsky was named dean in 1973, his mother said, "When they go to people like you, things must be pretty bad," he recalled. Rosovsky who served until 1984 said that he believed departments should seek to hire stars in their fields.

He recited the line which has made him famous among students and faculty alike: "You [the students] are here for four years; the faculty is here for life, and the institution is here forever."