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Faculty Notebook: The Cookies Are Back

By Gautam S. Kumar and Julia L. Ryan, Crimson Staff Writers

The cookies are back, baby.

Even though beach season is less than a month away, professors munched away on the much-missed sweets in Tuesday’s Faculty meeting. Sitting through a list of award recipients, they repeatedly got up and down to receive applause for their work, while Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith struggled with some names.

But the return of the cookies—a casualty to the worst financial crisis in recent history—would be missed by one historian usually in attendance.

University President Drew G. Faust was in Washington, D.C., delivering the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, leaving Smith jogging between the microphone and the presiding table while trying to juggle responsibilities for leading the Faculty meeting.


Once a staple at Faculty meetings, cookies disappeared in fall 2009 as the University sought ways to cut budgets. Losing snacks saved about $500 per meeting, Smith said at the time.

The diet ended Tuesday when two platters—a luxurious spread of cookies, including the classic chocolate chip and the oatmeal raisin—appeared next to the coffee and tea.

“I love cookies,” Smith said unabashedly in an interview with The Crimson after the meeting.

The return of the snacks echoed the promising announcement Smith delivered involving the steady recovery of FAS’ deficit.

While some faculty members enjoyed a cookie with their coffee and tea, others abstained from the sugary dessert. As professors filed out of the meeting, many cookies were left behind.

“We have healthy faculty,” Smith said on why so many cookies remained.


The Faculty meeting began with a lengthy list of awards received by Harvard professors.

Smith asked award recipients to stand as he read their names. Professors, lecturers, administrators, and one prize-winning Peer Advising Fellow hesitantly rose to be acknowledged by the room.

Biology Professor Farish A. Jenkins, Jr., however, got out of his seat a few more times than his colleagues.

After Jenkins received yet another award, laughter broke out as he rose again.

“Yes, we’re very proud of Farish,” Smith quipped.


As Smith announced various awards, he listed the full name of the award as well as the full name of the recipient’s professorship—a challenging task if one is not well-acquainted with names that can be phonetically difficult.

After several stumbles, Smith paused and finally gave up on announcing Area Dean for Environmental Science and Engineering Steven C. Wofsy full title—Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science.

“I’ll skip that one,” he said to laughter from the faculty. “This is why no one likes me.”

Following a joke on the easy pronunciation of his name—“This is why I have a simple name like Mike Smith”—he paused when reviewing the large number of faculty accepted into the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Too many names here,” Smith said.

—Staff writer Gautam S. Kumar can be reached at

—Staff writer Julia L. Ryan can be reached at

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