Campus & Community

Eleven HILR students honored for dedication

6 min read

University Marshal Jackie O’Neill honored 11 members of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement (HILR) last week for their dedication to lifelong learning. The April 4 ceremony was held at the Harvard Faculty Club and was attended by friends and family of the honorees, who are all near or actual nonagenarians. Also in attendance were Dean Michael Shinagel of the Division of Continuing Education, HILR President Anne Pirrera, and HILR Director Leonie Gordon.

The honorees were Charles Allen, Leo Beranek, Barbara Berger, Robert Bunshaft, Alice Casey, Milton Glickstein, Walter Guralnick, Mildred Lehman, Martha Paisner, Sidney Weinberg, and Liberty Winter. In listing their achievements and contributions to the HILR, O’Neill offered praise to the 11 members, citing them as models for continuing education in the Harvard community. She presented them with certificates and read citations of appreciation, excerpts from which follow:

Charles Allen: “Since earning your B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University more than six decades ago, you have lived an invigorating life in the international arena. … Upon retirement, you joined HILR, beginning a new career as teacher and resident elder statesman. In the past 10 years, you have led 15 courses and taken more than 50 in a striking range of disciplines, served on the HILR Council, written a detective novel, and spearheaded a number of political initiatives.”

Sidney Weinberg: “You joined HILR in 1993, following a long and distinguished career as an attorney specializing in railroad and transit law. … At HILR for the past 15 years, you have happily enrolled in three courses each semester on philosophy, science, art, literature and drama, proving the HILR adage that ‘education has no end.”

Mildred Lehman: “In your long career in journalism, you worked in communications and public affairs, striving to improve public attitudes towards the mentally ill and to reduce the stigma of seeking treatment. … You have contributed to the mission of the press with great dignity in almost every period of your life, setting an example for your late beloved daughter Betsy Lehman. Harvard University rejoices in your contributions to greater understanding in society at large.”

Liberty Winter: “You have the soul of a poet and your elegant verses have duly graced the pages of HILR’s Literary Supplement and its later incarnation, the HILR Review. During the 27 years of your membership in the institute you have led courses from the ‘Iliad’ to ‘Paradise Lost’ to ‘The Wasteland,’ with forays into the essence of Buddhism. … Harvard University congratulates you on a life lived in and for literature and poetry.

Barbara Berger: “You have been a loyal and constant part of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement since becoming a member during its formative phase in 1981. Following graduation from Hunter College in the war years, you led a fulfilling family life in Brockton, Mass., where you volunteered your time and energies in two important areas — at the Brockton Hospital and the Brockton Art Museum.

Coming to HILR meant a continuation of the community involvement that you valued so greatly. You took courses in literature and politics, the classics and contemporary history.”

Robert Bunshaft: “For the past 17 years you have led the members of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement on an exotic chase through geographical continents, historical eras, and political conundrums. … At HILR, you have twice served as president of the council during HILR’s landmark 20th and 25th anniversaries. Prior to that you served on the all-important Admissions Committee, for two years as its chair. In 13 years you have offered 17 courses in history and politics. … Harvard University cherishes its association of seven decades with you. …”

Milton Glickstein: “Born at the end of World War I, you have lived through some of the most turbulent periods of our time. You chose to spend your adult years making the lives of others, if not always happier, then at least better, as a dental surgeon. You earned your B.S. at Tufts University, then went on to acquire your professional skills at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, and, during your long career, you served as a clinical instructor at your alma mater.

Retiring from practice at the age of 70. … you joined HILR in 1989 and for the past 19 years you have cultivated your love of history, music, and religion.”

Alice Casey: “In your long and distinguished career you have embodied the spirit of teaching and learning. After a B.S. at what is now UMass Boston, you earned your master’s of education from Harvard and your Ph.D. from Boston College, and you made it your life’s work to provide an outstanding education for others, as an English and American literature teacher, as a headmaster, and as a district superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. … At HILR, you have chaired both the Curriculum and Teaching and Learning Committees and represented their interests on the HILR Council. All the while, you have enriched the community with your words of wisdom and widened your own considerable knowledge by taking three courses every semester since joining in 1992, for an astonishing total of 80.

Martha Paisner: “You graduated from Radcliffe College in 1938, 70 long years ago. In all that time, you and your husband Milton (’36) have pursued in every way possible the joy of learning. You yourself returned to school as a mature student, acquiring a master’s degree in political science from Brown University and later a second master’s in education from Rhode Island College … Following Milton’s enthusiastic example, you joined HILR in 1987 and, like him, have not missed a semester of classes in 20 years. You led 17 courses on presidents, interspersed with courses on the media, censorship, and freedom of speech.”

Walter Guralnick: “Harvard graduate (D.M.D. ’41) and emeritus professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, you have exerted a powerful influence on graduates of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Harvard Medical School. Four decades ago, you initiated the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery-M.D.-General Surgery Program, on which 50 such programs have subsequently been modeled, and from which countless specialists have emerged. … As the citation accompanying your award of the 2005 Harvard Medal reads: ‘Through your demonstrated commitment to excellence, diversity and the ideals and goals of Harvard, the scope and place of dentistry in the teaching hospitals has dramatically changed.’”

Leo Beranek: “You joined the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement only one year ago but in that brief time you have earned wide respect from your classmates and colleagues. You have been a pioneer in acoustical research, known throughout the world for your design of concert halls and opera houses and as the author of 12 books on these topics. … Harvard University lauds your numerous achievements.”