The process of selecting a master to fill thevacancy in Lowell started on the House level witha six-member committee, Bossert said. Thecommittee presented Dean Lewis with a list of goodpotential masters, he said.
According to Lewis, the ensuing process ofselecting Eck and Austin included consultationwith an advisory council composed of facultymembers, tutors and one student. He said the finaldecision--made by President Neil L. Rudenstine inconsultation with Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R.Knowles and Lewis himself--took into account thecommittee's advice.
Lewis said the pool of potential masters wasparticularly dynamic. "There was a very stronggroup of candidates, which I think is a goodthing," he said. "I have a very strong sense thatwell-respected senior Faculty...are looking foropportunities like this for engagement" withstudents.
According to Lewis, this is the first time thata same-sex couple will serve as House masters,but he said this was not a consideration in theselection process.
"We don't care at all about a person's maritalstatus, but if they do have a partner, they areconsidered as well," he said. "Both people have tobe interested and appealing as masters."
Bossert said he was heartened by theUniversity's selection.
"In the very best way, we have a master who waslooked on in favor by both the president, theDean, and the internal house committee, and that'snice," Bossert said. "It's a tribute to Eck. Therewasn't the feeling that we were working at crosspurposes."
Though she admits it will be hard to fill theBosserts' shoes, Eck said she looks forward to theopportunity to serve as master.
"There's something unique about a communitythat's constituted around a house," she said. "I'minterested in finding a way in which the House canreally be a real stimulus of intellectualconversation about the topics of the day both inAmerica and around the world."
Eck said she also is concerned with preservingLowell House's unique features.
"Our intention is to maintain that tradition[of weekly teas] in one form or another," Ecksaid. "We believe tradition is the way to createcommunity."
Preparing to hand the reins to Eck and Austin,Bossert offered the new masters some advice aboutmanaging academic and House responsibilities.
"No one really appreciates how much time ittakes to be a master," he said. "I'd tell them tosay no a lot," he quipped.
Eck said though she hopes not to give up muchof her scholarly work, being on academic leavenext year and being released from her teachingresponsibilities will be a help.
"I very much see myself continuing as a writerand as an academic because that's part of what Ibring to the house," Eck said.
According to Lewis, Eck and Austin'sappointment is pending confirmation by the HarvardCorporation and the Board of Overseers
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