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POI NT I NG OU R T HOUG H TS
H A R V A R D U N I V E R S I T Y
C A M B R I D G E M A S S A C H U S E T T S
N E I L L . R U D E N S T I N E
POI NTING OUR THOUGHTS
R E F L E C T I O N S o n H a r v a r d a n d
H i g h e r E d u c at i o n d 1 9 9 1 2 0 0 1
f o r e w o r d b y H A N N A H O L B O R N G R A Y
I L L U S T R A T I O N S B Y B A R R Y M O S E R
Copyright 2001by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
Introduction copyright 2001 by Hanna Holborn GrayFrontispiece illustration copyright 2001 by Barry Moser
There Are Roughly Zones, The Road Not Taken, and The Star-Splitter, from The Poetry of Robert Frost,
edited by Edward Connery LathemCopyright 1923, 1969 by Henry Holt and Company,
Copyright 1936, 1951 by Robert Frost,Copyright 1964 by Lesley Frost Ballantine.
Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
This Is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams,from Collected Poems 19091939, Volume I,
Copyright 1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp.Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Vacillation IV reprinted with the permission of Scribner,a Division of Simon & Schuster,
from The Collected Poems of W. B.Yeats, Revised Second Editionedited by Richard J. Finneran
Copyright 1933 by Macmillan Publishing Company;Copyright renewed 1961 by Bertha Georgie Yeats
Frontispiece: The Memorial Hall tower, destroyed in a 1956 fire, was rebuilt in 1999, andstands as a symbol of the Universitys renewal and restoration of its campus. A new studentdining hall and commons are now also part of Memorial Hall.
The Enduring University The Values of Education 3
The University and DiversityDiversity and Learning at Harvard 19Free Expression in a Diverse Society 33Sustaining an Inclusive Vision 49Persevering 52University Debate and Freedom of Speech 60Access and A^ordability 63Some Essential Institutional Values 68
The Arts and HumanitiesThe Challenging Nature of the Humanities 77A Perpetual Visual Motion Machine 85Melodic Transgressions ( John Harbison) 89Testing the Limits (Ellsworth Kelly) 93Firmly Grounded Ideas 95A Continuing Conversation 101
Science and TechnologyNew Technologies and Their Promise
for Higher Education 1 15The Fruits of Science and Serendipity 128Our Pursuit of Science and Health 136This Astonishing Technological Phenomenon 140
The Professions, Communities, and Public ServiceThe Changing Professions 149A Mind As It Reasons (Kathleen Sullivan) 154Leading Medical Education 158Landscape Architecture at Harvard 162Servant of the Public Good (Alan Greenspan) 166Celebrating Courage and Commitment 168A Sympathetic Imagination
( Justice Margaret Marshall) 1 7 1Casting and Recasting 174Contributing to the Life of Our Community 178
Thinking InternationallyEngaging Global Realities 189Indigenously American but Simultaneously Global 195Exchanging Di^erences 202A Democrat Who Has Learned from a King
(Nelson Mandela) 2 1 2Pitching into Commitments (David Rockefeller) 2 15Transforming Situations (Yitzhak Rabin) 220A Major Turning Point in International Studies 224
The Worlds of HarvardPointing Our Thoughts 239Integrating Knowledge 255A Spirit Not to Be Quenched
(Thomas Dudley Cabot) 260Deeds, Not Creeds ( John Loeb) 263A Lifetime of Service and Care
( Joseph Pulitzer, Jr.) 268
Her Own Poetics ( Judith Nisse Shklar) 273Our Lean Galbraithian Hero
( John Kenneth Galbraith) 276Thou Art a Wonder Gome (Reverend Peter Gomes) 279This Singular Place 283A Class By Itself 298
An EducationReaching Out 307The Act of Reading 3 1 2Designed to Be a Genuine Community 319A Labyrinthine Collegiate Climb 328Keeping Our Memory Accurate 334Intensity and Form (Sydney Freedberg) 340Something Luminous (Harry Levin) 343Consequential Minds and Presences 346Passion As Task 35 1Self-Education 368
HE PRESENT VOLUME stands as a healthy corrective to the familiar complaint pervading contemporary critiques of
higher education which contends that we have seen a sad declinein the stature and role of the university president. Once upon atime, it is said, giants strode the academic earth bestowing on ittheir gifts of eloquence and moral fervor, inspiring the public withtheir views on weighty issues of the day, exemplifying a wisdomand authority that o^ered beacons to the social order.
By contrast, todays president is pictured as an administrativemanager more concerned with money-raising than with learning,a cautious conciliator of diverse constituencies more intent onplacating than provoking, a spokesman for the corporate interestsof the university rather than the leader of an autonomous com-munity of principled commitment.
This commonly repeated perception has taken on a life of itsown as a kind of emblematic shorthand for decrying the ills of, orexpressing the anxieties associated with, the developments sur-rounding universities in our time. Institutions have become evermore complex and di^use. The pace of discovery in knowledgeand its technologies has been ever more accelerated. The profu-
sion (and confusion) of expectations placed on universities hasbecome ever more demanding. The ethical and social dilemmasemanating from the potential goals and uses of education andresearch seem increasingly di~cult to resolve. The questions ofthe appropriate relationship of universities to government and tothe commercial world appear irreconcilably contested. Disputesover the quality and e^ectiveness, the costs and benefits, the priv-ileges and equities of higher education have multiplied.
In the midst of such bewilderment, it is refreshing to find aclear and penetrating intelligence that conscientiously acceptsand confronts those problems and discordances of the contem-porary academic world, celebrates its enlarged capacities, andrefuses withdrawal into the nostalgia that would substituteabstract claims and simplistic nostrums or conventional rhetoricfor genuine engagement with profound complexities and thedetermination to undertake the tasks implied in a constructivesense of the future.
Ours is an age that requires not so much the universityfounders of the past, distinguished as they were, but re-foundersand renewers, participants in a collegial enterprise, definers ofinstitutional purpose, spokesmen for universities and the academ-ic ethos itself. Todays leaders among university presidents arethose who look steadily and carefully to issues that, preciselybecause the issues are neither fashionable nor susceptible to easysolution, require the utmost consistency in analysis and persua-sive communication.
Neil Rudenstine has been such a president. To read histhoughtful and beautifully crafted speeches is to hear the voice ofa teacher deeply committed to the vocation of opening minds toreflection and insight, listening intensely to his colleagues andentering with them into a continuing process of intellectual dia-logue, sharing the convictions and perplexities of the search forunderstanding. It is the voice of the humanist whose deep engage-ment with texts and ideas and language is always respectful of
nuance and uncertainty, sensitive to the living fabric of historyand tradition, generous to other ways of disciplinary study andattentive to the connections among them. It is the voice, too, ofthe academic citizen for whom the individual freedom of thescholar and student is paramount and for whom, at the sametime, the ideal of an academic community has overriding moralpower.
President Rudenstine has sustained and strengthened Har-vard, preserving and extending its special character and mission,setting and meeting high standards of ambition and accomplish-ment. At the same time, he has made it his profession to meditateon the large themes of teaching and learning, of the essential val-ues and conditions of academic life, of the nature of its institu-tions and the changes they must take into account. In doing so,he has fortified not only Harvard, but has served all our universi-ties by laying out so eloquently just why they matter and whatmatters about them.
The last decade has seen a great growth in resources and pro-grams at Harvard. The campaign that President Rudenstine ledhas already become legendary for its scope and its success. Moreimportant than the remarkable sums raised, however, is the aca-demic purpose that drove the campaigns planning and appeal.President Rudenstine seized the opportunity to see the Universitywhole, to support the initiatives of its di^erent constituent partsand simultaneously to stimulate inquiry into how their intellec-tual riches might join further toward configurations and collabo-rations that would cross boundaries and carve paths that couldlink Harvards internal neighborhoods to one another and pro-duce new forms of learning and investigation.
At the outset, in his inaugural address, and insistently onward,President Rudenstine set out priorities that would foster the goalsof the larger university, of liberal education, of serious scholar-ship and research, of excellence in professional training. Thosepriorities have to do in the first instance with honoring and pro-
tecting the conditions within which a university can flourish: theuncompromising conditions of academic freedom and untram-meled debate, together with those of civility and tolerance and awillingness to acknowledge the possible limitations to whicheven the most brilliant and talented minds may be subject.
Beyond these essentials, President Rudenstines priorities havebeen focused on expanding a