Campus & Community

The year in review:

long read

It was a year unto itself

President Summers touches John Harvard's
President Summers pays his respects to John Harvard (Staff photo by Rose Lincoln)

The past year at Harvard was a year of accomplishment and discovery, a year of growth and exploration, a year of beginnings and endings. The students of the Class of 2003 went through their senior year rituals. They wrapped up their studies and handed off leadership of organizations, groups, and teams to next year’s seniors. They sat by the banks of the Charles and wondered what the world will hold for them next.

That, of course, we don’t know. We do know what happened last year, though. We all watched incoming freshmen, at first wide-eyed and wondering how they got here, finally get the hang of this storied place. They understood that Harvard, for all the world says about it, is a place like many others. It is a place that prides itself on excellence, that honors achievement, and a place which, for a time, students call home.

It seemed also like a place of endless winter this year. Spring seemed as if it would never come – and indeed some are still skeptical whether it’s actually here.

The long shadow of Sept. 11, 2001, continued to cast its pall over the University and the world. Eyes often looked outward, watching events in Afghanistan unfold, only to have our attention distracted and refocused on Iraq. Two of the largest gatherings in Harvard Yard this year were children of 9/11. About 10,000 attended a one-year anniversary gathering in Tercentenary Theatre in September. Another 1,000 attended an anti-war rally in the Yard in March to protest the U.S. led war in Iraq.

The year’s intellectual activity was given a new urgency by the world’s reordered priorities. Terrorism, biological weapons, a rapidly spreading new disease called SARS, the problem of U.S. power, European unity, and war in the Middle East were all dominant discussion themes on campus.

Despite the global preoccupation, however, nonwar-related scientific discoveries by Harvard researchers continued. They gave insights into the mysteries of the natural world, into the structure of antimatter, into long-term swings in global climate, into the mysteries of human health and illness.

Harvard’s faculty continued to garner attention for its accomplishments, bringing a Pulitzer Prize for a look at U.S. foreign policy and the horrors of genocide, and a MacArthur Fellowship for studies of intellectual history. The University continued to attract top new faculty, including those doing work in new interdisciplinary fields.

Life on campus continued to change with the times. The finishing touches were put on agreements to raise the salaries of Harvard’s service workers, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ new dean announced the first comprehensive review of undergraduate life in 30 years, and leadership changes got under way at the Law School, the Divinity School, and Harvard College.

Harvard’s athletes continued their success, besting Yale in the annual home football contest, and gaining national tournament experience in sports from hockey to tennis to basketball. The men’s and women’s crew wrapped up the year by bringing home national and NCAA titles.

In the end, 2002-03 became a year like so many others, marked by personal and collective successes and failures. And, like every other year, 2002-03 was also unique. Here’s a look back at important happenings over the past 12 months.

Summer 2002

The University completes negotiations with three principal service unions to raise entry-level wages beyond the range of $10.83 to $11.30 per hour recommended by the Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies. The agreements follow through on President Lawrence H. Summers’ commitment to ensure a positive climate for all employees.

William A. Graham, Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and professor of the history of religion, is named dean of Harvard Divinity School. Graham served as acting Divinity School dean for a year before his appointment.

Medical School investigators find that the risks of getting a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease, fall into only a few genetic patterns that can be easily identified in different people all over the world.

Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Partners HealthCare receive a $15 million grant to study bacteria with properties that may allow researchers to engineer them to clean toxic waste, consume carbon dioxide, and perform other environmental and energy production tasks.

Harvard expands depth of study into mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics, headed up by Professor Martin Nowak.

September 2002

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf reaffirms his nation’s commitment to the U.S.-led war on terror at a speech at the Kennedy School of Government. Musharraf addresses internal Pakistani reforms and speaks of the conflict with India over the disputed Kashmir region.

Harvard’s wireless network provides freedom to work, e-mail, and surf the Net from a variety of places on campus.

An observance of the first anniversary of Sept. 11 draws 10,000 to Tercentenary Theatre. Students, religious leaders from a range of faiths, and Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers offer messages of peace and hope.

History Professor Ann Blair is named one of 24 MacArthur Fellows and recipient of the fellowship’s $500,000 grant. Blair is an intellectual historian who traces the influence of technological advances on the evolution of ideas during the Renaissance. Harvard and Watertown reach long-term agreement on the Arsenal on the Charles property that provides fiscal stability for Watertown and assures Harvard that it will be able to use the property for its institutional purposes.

Harvard Business School launches the Corporate Governance, Leadership, and Values Project with the goal of working with executives, legislators, regulators, and academics to shed light on the underlying causes of the recent string of corporate scandals.

Harvard Business School publicly launches its first-ever capital campaign with a goal of raising $500 million by the end of 2005. Major gifts received since then include $25 million from pioneering venture capitalist Arthur Rock and $32 million from Weather Channel founder Frank Batten.

October 2002

A new core region is found at the Earth’s center by Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science Adam Dziewonski, and graduate student Miaki Ishii. The previously unknown sphere, 360 miles in diameter, was detected after examining records of hundreds of thousands of earthquakes.

Economist Dale Jorgenson and music historian Christoph Wolff are named University Professors. Jorgenson is named to the Samuel W. Morris University Professorship while Wolff is named to the Adams University Professorship.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean William C. Kirby announces the first comprehensive review of undergraduate life in 30 years. The review will ensure Harvard’s continuing “position of strength” among institutions of higher education, Kirby says in a letter to FAS faculty.

November 2002

The Memorial Church marks its 70th anniversary with a solemn remembrance of those who died in World War I during its annual Commemoration of Benefactors and of the War Dead.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says during a speech at Sanders Theatre that the glasnost and perestroika reforms enacted under his 1985 to 1991 tenure were successful but are still causing suffering in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

A Harvard-led research team slows antimatter atoms and gains the first glimpse of an antihydrogen atom. Physics professor and research team leader Gerald Gabrielse says the work is a step toward answering why matter and antimatter haven’t destroyed each other.

Stem cell implants are used for the first time to replace and preserve missing and dying nerve cells in mice brains. The research, led by Harvard Medical School neurologist Evan Snyder, opens the way to understanding how stem cells might be used to treat injuries and diseases.

School of Public Health researchers, led by Gokhan Hotamisligil of the Department of Nutrition, identify a gene as a link between obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Law School Dean Robert C. Clark announces his retirement as dean at the end of the 2002-03 academic year. A scholar of corporate law who joined the Law School faculty in 1979, Clark has been dean since 1989. Clark plans to return to the Law School faculty.

Renovated Hano Homes, with 15 affordable housing units, opens in Allston. The project is one of several renovations done with the help of Harvard’s 20/20/2000 affordable housing partnership funds.

Seven players from the women’s soccer team are named to the All-Ivy team.

Harvard’s football team beats Yale, 20-13, and finishes the season in second place.

December 2002

President Lawrence H. Summers, and deans of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Law School, and Business School announce plans to encourage alumni to support initiatives around the University.

Five Harvard students, four seniors and one Medical School student, receive prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for study at the University of Oxford, the most of any school.

Two Harvard College seniors win prestigious Marshall Scholarships for study at a university in the United Kingdom.

Harvard Medical School faculty find that hormone replacement therapy raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and invasive breast cancer, while lowering the risk of colorectal cancer and hip fractures.

January 2003

Astronomers discover a new planet in the constellation Sagittarius, the farthest from Earth so far. The planet, found by a team led by Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Astronomy Dimitar Sasselov, is exotic, with hot iron rains and a temperature of about 3,000 degrees Farenheit.

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers announces initiatives to make Harvard more affordable for students interested in public service careers. The initiatives include a $14 million Presidential Scholars program, low-interest loans, and a fund to encourage giving to aid public service careers.

Harvard announces merger with the Rowland Institute of Science, known as a home for imaginative, interdisciplinary research by individuals and small groups of scientists, often working on unconventional projects.

Harvard College wraps up the first semester of its first-ever foreign exchange program. For the fall semester, Harvard hosts exchange students from Brazil. Two Harvard juniors head to Brazil for the second half of the exchange program this spring.

Harvard Law School announces the first endowed chair in American Indian studies at Harvard and the only such professorship east of the Mississippi River, the Oneida Indian Nation Professorship of Law, endowed by the Oneida Nation.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals announce Anjelica Huston as its Woman of the Year and Martin Scorsese as its Man of the Year. The two were subjected to the traditional roasts before receiving their pudding pot.

America’s schools have been sliding toward re-segregation for more than a decade, according to a study by the Harvard Civil Rights Project. The report says that after steady progress from 1950 to the late 1980s, the past 12 years have seen a reversal to segregation levels.

Senior guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman becomes the Ivy League’s all-time assist leader in men’s basketball, breaking the 16-year-old mark of Yale’s Peter White. Prasse-Freeman, who ranked fourth in the nation in assists (7.7 per game), completes his career with 705.

The Fogg Art Museum announces it is acquiring four major collections of photographs totaling 10,000 photos and 40,000 negatives from Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital find that both long and short sleep durations may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease in women.

Researchers from the School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm find no association between the consumption of foods high in acrylamide (found in fried and certain other cooked foods) and increased risk of three forms of cancer.


Harvard University, together with several other institutions, files an amicus brief in the Michigan cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the right of institutions of higher education to consider race as one factor in a careful and individualized admissions system

Applications to Harvard College exceeded 20,000 for the first time. The number of applications rose for the 12th time in 13 years, reaching a record 20,918 for the Class of 2007.

The Harvard women’s hockey team wins fifth straight Beanpot title, beating Boston College, 7-0.

The women’s squash team wins its third Ivy League Title in a row after defeating Yale.

Harvard women’s hockey wins the ECAC and Ivy titles.

The Harvard women’s basketball team qualifies for the NCAA Tournament after beating Cornell, 61-47. Junior forward Hana Peljto is named Ivy League Player of the Year, earns mid-major All-America honors, and is named a First Team Academic All-American.


Harvard men’s saber squad wins its first Intercollegiate Fencing Association title since 1941. Freshman Tim Hagamen captures the individual saber crown. Men’s swimming recaptures the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League title, defeating Princeton, 1565-1592. Harvard researchers link arthritis and heart disease. Researchers conclude that rheumatoid arthritis in women may double their risk of heart attack.

Harvard and seven other Boston-area research universities’ regional economic impact totals more than $7 billion, a new study shows. The benefits come from direct employment, talent attraction, innovative research, commercial technology licenses, and start-up companies. Harvard College Dean Harry R. Lewis will conclude his service as dean on June 30. Dean since July 1995, Lewis will remain a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences with the additional title of Harvard College Professor, an honor given the most dedicated teachers on the faculty.

The first University-wide purchasing program is projected to save $2 million to $3 million annually through an information technology preferred-provider program using IBM.

Approximately 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members attend an anti-war rally in Harvard Yard. Hundreds of students walk out of their classes to demonstrate their opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The rally is part of a nationwide action on college campuses.

Senior women’s ice hockey player Jennifer Botterill wins the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. Botterill leads the Crimson to the Ivy League and ECAC titles and to the NCAA Championship game, where Harvard falls to Minnesota-Duluth.

Women’s basketball falls to Kansas State in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, 79-69.

Harvard fencing takes eight out of 31 schools at NCAA Championships. Four fencers earn All-American honors at the tournament.

Men’s hockey falls to Boston University, 6-4, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


Samantha Power, lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, receives 2003 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for her book, “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which examines U.S. foreign policy toward genocide.

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers appoints Law Professor Elena Kagan the next dean of Harvard Law School. Kagan, a scholar of administrative law, will replace the outgoing dean, Robert C. Clark, who announced plans in November to step down June 30 after 14 years.

After eight months of intensive review, the Committee to Address Sexual Assault at Harvard (CASAH), chaired by Professor Jennifer Leaning, released its recommendations to strengthen the College’s educational and support services related to sexual violence on campus.

Dean for Undergraduate Education Benedict H. Gross is named the new dean of Harvard College. Gross will head the newly consolidated offices of the dean of Harvard College and the dean of undergraduate education, effective July 1.

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researchers reveal long-term natural climate variability, concluding that today’s climate is neither the warmest of the past 1,000 years nor does it have the most extreme weather.

Women’s tennis dethrones Penn, 6-1, to win its 14th Ivy League Championship.

Researchers with the Graduate School of Education’s Project on the Next Generation of Teachers release findings that many schools do not hire and support new teachers in ways that help them enter the profession smoothly and attain early success.

New masters are named for Cabot House, Currier House, and Winthrop House; they will officially begin their duties in the fall.

Men’s tennis clinches its 26th Ivy League title, its 12th in the past 15 years.


A way to neutralize anthrax bacteria is discovered by the Medical School’s Presley Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics John Collier, who found out how to interfere with the molecular “syringe” that anthrax uses to pierce cell walls and inject a deadly toxin.

Three of Harvard’s senior football players sign free-agent contracts with National Football League teams. Carl Morris signs with the Indianapolis Colts, Jamil Soriano with the Green Bay Packers, and Jack Fadule with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Harvard’s men’s heavyweight crew beats favored University of Wisconsin to win its 22nd title in the Eastern Athletic Rowing Conference Regatta. The victory marks Harvard’s first Eastern Sprints crown since 1990.

Childhood abuse can rewire the brain, reducing the important connector between the brain’s halves and increasing risks of everything from anxiety to suicide, a study by Associate Professor of Psychiatry Martin Teicher and colleagues at McLean Hospital says.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gives Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital a $24 million grant to establish a cardiovascular research center that will use data from the Framingham Heart Study and Harvard research to develop a treatment for heart disease.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elects 13 Harvard faculty members to the organization.

Harvard Law School announces its largest-ever foundation grant, $10 million from the John M. Olin Foundation, which will allow the School to continue cutting-edge work in the field of law and economics.

Women’s tennis upsets No. 16 Arizona to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Captain Sanja Bajin goes undefeated in singles. The Crimson falls to reigning champion Stanford, 4-0, in the round of 16.

Men’s tennis advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Alabama.

The Radcliffe heavyweight crew snaps Brown’s five-year stranglehold on the title and wins its first Eastern Sprints championship since 1989.

A new concentration in African studies will replace the certificate in African studies, beginning 2003-04. The Department of Afro-American Studies is renamed the Department of African and African American Studies.

Effective July 1, former Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeremy R. Knowles and outgoing Law School Dean Robert C. Clark are named Harvard University Distinguished Service Professors.

Men’s crew wins Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s National Championship.


Radcliffe heavyweight crew wins NCAA Championship.

Albert W. ’43 and Katharine E. Merck give $15 million to the Graduate School of Education and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to strengthen teacher training and instructional technology.

HLS kicks off a fundraising campaign to raise $400 million. The campaign will be the largest in the history of legal education.