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Despite the imminent departure of Harvard's two top administrators, major fundraisers inside the University say they remain confident that the planned $2.5 billion capital campaign will still be successful--although its success may be deferred for a year.
The new prospective campaign--expected to be higher education's largest ever--has been in the planning states in the University's highest echelons over the course of the last year.
Although fundraising insiders say they do not think the drive will suffer from the loss of President Derek C. Bok and Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence, the campaign is still held back by many questions that have not been addressed.
Although initially a point of contention, the general nature of the campaign--a broad-based collaborative effort by all of the University's different schools--has been tentatively agreed upon by all of the deans. The new campaign represents a real break from the standard Harvard, "every tub on its own bottom" policy of leaving fundraising up to individual faculties.
But the lack of zeal on the part of heads of the richer schools such as the Law School and Business School to contribute to a fundraising effort which will not give them control over all funds gathered from their own alumni still casts a shadow over the drive.
The richer deans have been wary about subsidizing smaller schools which do not have the fundraising abilities of their more well-established counterparts.
The departure of Spence does leave the University with a large gap to be filled before the drive can formally go ahead.
As FAS dean, Spence controlled more than one-third of the University endowment funds and played a central role in formulating a game plan for the new drive. Spence issued his campaign priorities in December (among them internationalization, more faculty office space and expansion of graduate fellow-ships), but now both he and others say the new dean and new president will be able to shuffle these priorities.
"I don't think Harvard should expect that its next president should be committed to any plans made before," says Robert H. Scott, vice president for finance.
"A new general can lead an army in a new direction [even though] the army will already have been mustered," Scott says.
Although Spence says campaign planning will go forward, he adds, "it won't get so far that the new people won't be central decision makers.
What remains the major stumbling block is the schedule for the campaign, according to several officials.
"The main idea [for launching the drive] now is fall, 1992," says Ernest E. Monrad '51, Harvard's chief Boston area fundraiser. Campaign organizers had originally hoped to start the original campaign in September, 1991, but Monrad says this date will likely be pushed back a year to accomodate the changes in University leadership.
"They should have decided [on the new president] by December of January," Monrad says. "If it was someone [already involved in the planning] like Henry Rosovsky then there wouldn't be such a break in pace. He wouldn't have any trouble at all."
Monrad is referring to Geyser University Professor Henry Rosovsky, a member of the Harvard Corporation who has been mentioned widely as a possible successor to Bok.
But although the loss of two major University figures can't be helpful, some University officials say they think Harvard's well-established fundraising machine will provide enough continuity to make the drive successful.
"There are a lot of expert people who do fundraising at Harvard," says Mary C. Price, associate dean for administration at the Graduate School of Design. "There are a lot of things that we can do. We can work around that although it clearly would help to have a president."
Monrad says that as soon as the University can fill in the large administrative gaps, the fundraising effort will be ready for a kickoff.
"Not having a president leaves a big unknown, but a lot of the campaign planning has been done by consensus," Monrad says. "The target amounts and the thrusts of the campaign has been done almost always by consensus so that's all in place. I think organizationally, we are there."
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