I’ve seen a lot of Senior Gift marketing. I’ve seen the email blasts, the T-shirts, the social media posts, and the raffles. I’ve seen the posters up around my House, trumpeting the multifarious recipients of senior generosity, including the Classroom to Table program (shuttered for the semester, lacking funds), the Wi-Fi (slow), and my Faculty Deans’ dogs (very cute, but I bet not actually fed by the Harvard College Fund).
In those first post-war decades, it must have been easy to see Harvard as an essential American institution. President John F. Kennedy ’40, a former Crimson editor, could hold meetings of the Board of Overseers at the White House and invite the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to be National Security Advisor.
Our reading today comes from Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I”, the wildly popular class taught by David J. Malan ’99. The course has a turbulent history with academic dishonesty—one that includes a full tenth of the class, or over 60 students, being investigated by the Honor Council in 2017—though perhaps charitably it also is more rigorous than many courses about checking for such transgressions.
It’s an odd sort of feeling—having pondered, labored over, drafted, edited, and re-written something for the past year—to finally hold the thick stack of paper that is its final, physical manifestation. I don’t know what exactly I expected. But to slide the printout into its binder, to head out into the rain towards the Government Department offices at the Center for Government and International Studies, and to finally hand over the two black binders was remarkably anticlimactic.
I speak, of course, of the surprising recent announcement of Lawrence S. Bacow to be the 29th president of Harvard University.