Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I.V. League

At the end of my junior year in high school, I was presented with something called the Harvard Book Award, a volume gorgeously bound in crimson, unfortunately containing the collected works of Nathan Pusey, that university’s president. Even then I thought that only massively self-regarding Harvard would consider this a suitable student prize.

I may have started disliking Harvard because of my youthful reading of the already ancient Frank Merriwell books, in which the heroic Yalie invariably defeated caddish Harvard athletes in a range of college sports.

It was my duty, later, to dislike Harvard when I competed against them for Dartmouth (a place about as unlike H in most ways as can be imagined), though I admit there was nary a cad in sight.

But the place is a great and important university, and this stupendous financial disaster is way too horrible for me to feel anything but dismay and concern, even if that old Harvard arrogance—and maybe a touch of that old-time caddishness, too—is clearly part of the cause.

She comes in for some licks in this article, but I must say that I deeply admire current Harvard president, Drew Faust, as a historian, and would be proud to be awarded her collected works.

[Speaking of presidents, Dartmouth has just named a new one. His name is Jim Kim, and he’s going to be wicked good. Superb. Transformative. He comes from Harvard.]

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