Former Deans Receive Service Prize

Knowles, Clark honored with newly created award

Two former Harvard deans have each been granted one of the University’s highest honors—the newly-created position of the Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor.

Jeremy R. Knowles, former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Robert C. Clark, outgoing dean of Harvard Law School (HLS) are the first to ever receive such a title.

Created by the Joint Committee on Appointments of the University’s governing boards, the title is intended to recognize individuals who have served as dean of one of the University’s 12 schools and then returned to regular service as faculty members .

“Both Jeremy Knowles and Bob Clark have served their faculties and the University with extraordinary leadership and distinction,” said University Lawrence H. Summers in a release announcing the appointments. “This seems a fitting way to honor their long and distinguished service as deans, and to recognize not only their outstanding past accomplishments but also their important continuing contributions to the life of the University.”

Knowles, who served as dean of FAS from 1991 until June 2002, is known for his major initiatives as dean in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences as well as his tremendous success in fundraising and increasing student financial aid. In his time at the helm of the Faculty, Knowles managed to transform annual deficits of more than $10 million into multi-million dollar surpluses and helped raise more than $1 billion for capital projects. Harvard’s annual investment in scholarship aid for undergraduates also increased dramatically from $26 million in 1991 to $63 million as of February 2002.

Knowles also enhanced the physical resources of FAS, playing a crucial role in the creation or renovation of many of the Faculty’s landmarks, including the Barker Center, Boylston Hall and the Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS). Now in its first stages of construction, CGIS will ultimately unite the government department with many of Harvard’s international and regional studies centers in a single location.

After 11 years as dean, Knowles was replaced by Geisinger Professor of History William C. Kirby in June 2002. Since then, Knowles, who is also Houghton professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has returned to his teaching and research.

Clark, who will also be given the new title, has served as HLS dean since 1989. During his deanship, he has been largely responsible for financially strengthening the school, completing a $183 million capital campaign in 1995—the biggest in HLS history, and, at the time, the largest campaign in the history of legal education. This has allowed for improvement of the school’s financial aid packages, renovation of HLS’ physical plant, and the appointment of 39 new tenure tenure-track positions—increasing total faculty size to 81.

Clark will conclude his 14-year tenure at the end of this month and will be replaced by current Professor of Law Elena Kagan. Clark is currently the Wakeman Scott professor of law, concentrating on corporate law, with a special interest in financial institutions.

Both Knowles and Clark will be officially referred to as Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor as of July 1.

—Staff writer Anat Maytal can be reached at