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Facilities Asst. Dean Retires After 40 Years

By Julie L. Belcove

The assistant dean for facilities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will retire at the end of the month, after 40 years with the University.

Francis A. Lawton, 61, said he is looking for a position at another university or in private industry. Lawton helped oversee the physical plant of the Faculty, which includes the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the College.

Lawton said that he was leaving for personal reasons and refused to elaborate on what they were.

"It was a situation whereby he did not fit in with the type of plans they had," said Eugene J. Arcand, assistant director of physical operations.

Former Associate Dean for Facilities for the Faculty R. Thomas Quinn resigned last summer to enter the private sector, and Philip J. Parsons took the helm of the facilities department.

"Any new administration should have the right to make whatever changes they feel will benefit their way of looking at things," Lawton said. "There are some changes that have taken place, and we all feel or hope that they're in the best interest of the University."

Lawton, whose field is electrical engineering, was a member of what is now called the Division of Applied Sciences until 1967, when then Dean of the Faculty Franklin Ford brought him into the administration. Eleven years ago Lawton became assistant dean for facilities.

"My best memories are working with both the students and the faculty over the years," Lawton said. "I'm at a loss of words, but I've met so many wonderful people."

In his four decades at Harvard, Lawton said he has seen the University expand. Where once stood wood-framed houses now stand Harvard buildings, including the Carpenter Center and William James Hall, he said.

"There's been so much new construction," hesaid. "When I first came here 40 years ago, it wasalmost a suburban campus. At one time we used toplay touch football in a field where the ScienceCenter and Gordon McKay Laboratory are nowsitting."

He also orchestrated the $100,000 move ofMorton Prince House from its old location nearDivinity Ave. to Prescott St., where it stands asthe Freshman Dean's Office. To move the building,it was necessary to cut it into three pieces andremove the traffic lights and parking meters onQuincy St.

Lawton's colleagues in the facilitiesdepartment praised his expertise in constructionand electrical engineering.

"I would talk to him quite a bit," said MichaelN. Lichten, director of physical operations."Because of his many years, he had a great deal ofknowledge about buildings at Harvard."

"He sometimes could be very demanding," saidArcand, who has worked with Lawton for 23 years."I didn't always agree with him, but I felt Icould express my opinion."

About finding a successor for Lawton, Arcandsaid, "Oh heavens, you couldn't replace him.

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