Fellowship Will Fund Public Service

This spring two Harvard students will receive one of the largest public service grants in the country.

The newly-endowed Elliot and Anne Richardson Fellowships in Public Service will award $25,000 for one year of work in public service to students intending to pursue careers in that field. In upcoming years, three fellows will be selected annually.

In order to receive the award, students need not have spent years pursuing public service, said Paul A. Bohlmann, director of fellowships for the Office of Career Services.

The award “recognizes people who came to an interest in public service later in their life,” he said.

The grant, which covers both recipients’ living expenses and the costs of their public service programs, has few constraints on what type of work grant winners can undertake, Bohlmann said.

“It gives a lot of freedom for students who win it to pursue individual projects,” said Dunster House fellowships tutor Kevin M. Burke ’98.

According to Laura E. Clancy ’03, president of the Phillips Brooks House Association, the announcement of a major new community service grant comes at a time of increasing demand for public service funding.

“It is incredible the amount of interest in public service fellowships and the lack of funding for them,” she said.

The fellowship is designed primarily for graduating seniors, though graduate students can also apply if they take a year of absence.

The fellowship is named after Elliot L. Richardson ’41 and Anne Hazard Richardson ’51, the only husband and wife ever to have served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing board.

The $1.5 million fund that endows the fellowship was raised by family and friends of the Richardsons, who both died in 1999.

Elliot Richardson held many high level positions in the federal government. During the Nixon administration, he served at various times as secretary of health, education and welfare, secretary of defense and attorney general. And under the Ford administration, he was secretary of commerce and ambassador to Great Britain.

Anne Hazard Richardson chaired a national program called Reading is Fundamental from 1981 to 1996.

A faculty committee, including professors from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government will choose the recipients.

—Staff writer Zachary Z Norman can be reached at