I Tatti A villa with a view With its 75 acres of vineyards, olive groves, and gardens, I Tatti uses four gardeners, four farmers, eight house staff members, and two cooks to keep the sprawling villa in top shape. Scholars who are passionate about the Italian Renaissance regularly flock to Villa I Tatti, the bucolic enclave carved out of a corner of Florence, Italy, where they can pursue their passions in a breathtaking setting.At Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, more than 30 scholars gather for three to 10 months to pursue their studies on the Italian Renaissance: its music, history, economics, science, politics, and art. If something intriguing happened in 13th to 15th century Italy, it’s fair game. The chosen few come from around the world to immerse themselves in I Tatti’s 150,000-volume library, its 300,000 photos of rare art, and the hundreds of priceless artworks scattered through its 14 buildings and 75 acres of vineyards, olive groves, and gardens.Villa I Tatti was the vision of Bernard Berenson, Harvard Class of 1887, the celebrated art historian who donated his estate to the University half a century ago, along with a $900,000 endowment.“Mr. Berenson envisioned a place where scholars from English-speaking countries and Europe could travel and study the Mediterranean (Harvard changed the focus to the Italian Renaissance), gather at the villa, read, think, and converse,” said Joseph Connors, director of the villa. “Knowledge through conversation is what he wanted. He was not so interested in production. He wanted scholars to read and think.”So that is what they do. Scholars work on upcoming books, monographs, catalogs, or other projects. Connors encourages them to present their work at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. They are also asked, in addition to their normal teaching, to find ways to present the Renaissance to a general audience on their return home.This year’s class includes scholars from Budapest, London, Edinburgh, Oxford, Rome, Paris, and both Cambridges, as well as from around the United States.The life of a scholar at I Tatti is uncomplicated, but not always challenge free. Each week, a scholar is asked to make a presentation for the others in what is called “shoptalk.” The ensuing discussions often last longer than the talks, and continue through the days that follow.“What happens here is that our colleagues provide insights that can inform our own work, opening up a variety of ideas. Constantly, things are shared by visitors that make you think: What if?” said Claudia Chierichini, an Italian literature scholar who grew up in Italy, earned a Ph.D. at Yale University and taught at Mount Holyoke College. “It’s a wonderful place,” she added, “a community of scholars of the Italian Renaissance from several different disciplines. But this environment allows us to transcend those disciplinary boundaries.”The 10-month fellows must have a Ph.D. in some aspect of the Italian Renaissance, earned in the past decade. This year, there were 120 applications (up from 65 eight years ago) for 15 slots. Along with a resume, applicants must submit a bibliography of their published work, a detailed project proposal, and three recommendations from scholars. A 15-member committee selects the top 15, along with an alternate. Each fellow is paid the equivalent of what a junior faculty member would earn, including a housing allowance.A research institute such as Villa I Tatti is expected to make an impact on the intellectual life of Florence and, through its publications, more broadly. Connors tries to forge relationships with the research institutes sponsored by other countries in Florence, particularly the Kunsthistorisches Institut, as well as with the art museums and the universities in Florence and Fiesole. I Tatti was instrumental in founding a consortium of Florentine research libraries with a unified digital catalogue, though the library holdings are also catalogued in HOLLIS. Symposia have been held on the Renaissance in Eastern Europe with colleagues from Hungary, and on New World manuscripts in Florence with colleagues from Mexico. As Florence presents itself as a city of knowledge and research, not just a city of tourism, I Tatti tries to enhance that sense.After eight years, Connors is in his final year as director and will be succeeded next summer by Lino Pertile, Carl A. Pescosolido Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and master of Eliot House at Harvard. Pertile’s specialty is Italian literature, with a particular focus on the medieval and Renaissance periods.Musing over his tenure, Connors said he is proudest of expanding the program’s horizons and bringing in nontraditional fellows. He also has created several special three- to six-month programs. “I have tried to open the place up a little,” he said.For instance, he describes the Craig Hugh Smyth Visiting Fellows program as an option for “the overworked.” Participants, who are usually museum curators but also librarians, conservators, and academic administrators, do not usually enjoy sabbaticals or extended summer vacations, but are producing first-rate research. Connors was also concerned about the scholar-mother who tries to juggle research and the care of children, and so created a fellowship aimed at them.There is also the program of Readers in Renaissance Studies, which allows Harvard Ph.D. candidates to spend a semester simply reading as broadly as possible in the Latin and Italian sources of the Renaissance. They are given an opportunity to interact informally with scholars in many disciplines who are at more advanced stages in their careers, which eventually feeds back into emerging dissertations. They generally describe that experience as having a profound impact on their lives.“This is a no-stress opportunity for me to explore deeply areas specific to my academic support as well as things that might be considered tangential,” said Michael Tworek, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard whose focus is relations between Poland and Italy during the Renaissance.One would be hard-pressed to find people of color wandering the villa, because few black, Latin-American, or Asian scholars focus on the Italian Renaissance. But Michael Cuthbert, an I Tatti fellow, would like to change that. Of half Japanese descent, Cuthbert is a musicologist who received both his bachelor’s (’98) and Ph.D. (’06) degrees from Harvard. He believes that, with early exposure, anyone interested in music can easily fall in love with that of the Renaissance.His own focus is not only Italian Renaissance music, but also on 20th century computer-aided music. And, as an undergraduate, he played clarinet in the Bach Society. He sees no conflicts in his approach. “Music is a happy form of escapism,” he said, accessible to all.The physical plant is expanding as well. Construction continues on the Deborah Loeb Brice Loggiato, which will house study rooms, offices, and a lecture hall, and is expected to open in the spring. The next big project involves the Fototeca building, adding storage space for books and photos, plus new library reading space.After a sabbatical, Connors plans to teach Harvard College courses in architectural history. He will be inscribed on the roster of I Tatti directors who have molded, shaped, enlarged, and refined I Tatti, with Berenson’s vision in mind, but also with a sense of what is needed to keep Renaissance studies a vital field. Photos by Robert P. Mitchell Grounds for admittance The 10-month fellows must have a Ph.D. in some aspect of the Italian Renaissance, earned in the past decade. This year, there were 120 applications (up from 65 just eight years ago) for 15 slots. Nota bene More than 30 scholars gather for three to 10 months to pursue their studies on the Italian Renaissance: its music, history, economics, politics, or art history. The chosen few come from around the world to immerse themselves in I Tatti’s 150,000-volume library, its 300,000 photos of rare art, and priceless artworks in 14 buildings. Where the Renaissance still lives “Knowledge through conversation is what [donor Bernard Berenson] wanted,” said Villa I Tatti Director Joseph Connors. “He was not so interested in production. He wanted scholars to read and think.” Scholarly haven Villa I Tatti was the vision of Bernard Berenson, Harvard Class of 1887, the celebrated art historian who donated his estate to the University half a century ago. Parts of the villa are being expanded in a long-term project for more study rooms, offices, a lecture hall, scholarly storage, and library space. Renaissance man Joseph Connors, outgoing director of Villa I Tatti — the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy — said he is proudest of expanding the program’s horizons and bringing in nontraditional fellows: “I have tried to open the place up a little.”
Read Full Story His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto, will make his first visit to Harvard University Oct. 2–3, 2011. He will deliver the Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Lecture, one of the most distinguished lectures at the University, on Oct. 3.The Sultan of Sokoto is the religious leader of Nigeria’s Muslim community, which consists of approximately half of the country’s nearly 160 million inhabitants, and of millions of Muslims in adjoining countries in West Africa. He serves Nigeria as president-general of the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.The Jodidi Lecture, jointly sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Harvard Divinity School (HDS), is titled “Islam and Peace-Building in West Africa.” It will take place at the Sackler Lecture Hall, located at 485 Broadway (at the corner of Quincy Street), from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The lecture is open to the public, but seating is limited to 275 people.“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Harvard community to engage one of the most important Muslim leaders in Africa,” said William A. Graham, dean of Harvard Divinity School. “Anyone interested in peacekeeping, religious leadership, women’s leadership in Islam, the postcolonial experience, African religions, or a host of other issues, will find the sultan a fascinating figure who confounds many American stereotypes of both sub-Saharan Africa and the Islamic tradition.”See related events.
To biophysicist Aravinthan Samuel, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans provides a pathway to understanding the brain and nervous system, first of the worm, then of higher animals, and even, perhaps, of humans.But to Samuel, working on anesthetized or immobilized worms can only tell you so much about how the brain and nervous system work. To truly understand the system, researchers need to see it in action.So Samuel and researchers in his lab set to work designing equipment that could measure nerve activity in living, wiggling worms. They first succeeded three or four years ago, becoming the first to record neural activity in freely moving worms. Then, last year, they topped that, using pulses of green and blue light on worms that had been genetically modified so that their nerves contained light-activated proteins. This allowed researchers to exert control over the worms by aiming pulses of light at specific nerves.To do this, they had to design some sophisticated equipment: a tracking microscope to follow the worms’ movements and image-processing software to estimate the location of individual neurons and control a mirror to direct light to the target nerve cells.The system worked spectacularly. Researchers were able to simulate a touch that caused the worms to recoil by shining a light at a nerve near the worms’ front. They were able to goose the worms into action by shining a light at a nerve toward their back end. They were able to steer a worm left and right and even get it to lay an egg, all without a single physical touch.At the time, Samuel described the method as perhaps his lab’s “greatest invention” and said it would provide a new tool in the arsenal of researchers seeking to understand the nervous system.Today, Samuel and members of his lab are moving ahead with their work on the roundworm. Samuel, a physics professor who uses the tools of that field to explore important biological questions, said he chose to work on C. elegans, a millimeter-long roundworm often used in laboratory research, for several reasons. It is transparent, so researchers can see what’s going on inside it, and it’s so simple that researchers have all of its 302 neurons mapped out. That means researchers seeking a beachhead from which to explore the complex workings of the nervous system can look for basic principles in C. elegans that would also apply to more complex creatures.After years working on C. elegans, Samuel’s laboratory is tackling increasing complexity. A few years ago, the researchers began working on larva of the fruit fly Drosophila. While Drosophila is another commonly studied laboratory animal — favored for genetics research because of its short life span — it is usually studied in its adult fly form. Its wormlike larva, which Samuel said has a nervous system an order of magnitude more complex than C. elegans, is not as widely studied. One project, if successful, will yield a complete map of the nerves involved in the larvae’s sensitivity to light and heat.Although he has been on Harvard’s faculty since 2003, Samuel has been at the University far longer, for 23 years. After growing up in Sidney, New York with an interest in mathematics and physics, Samuel came to Harvard as an undergraduate. While looking for laboratories where he could conduct biological or physics research, he visited the lab of Howard Berg, a biophysicist who studies movement in bacteria. Samuel found a home there, conducting both undergraduate and graduate studies under Berg.“Everything he touched seemed to work. He roamed and read widely. At one point he was learning Japanese … and reading James Joyce,” Berg said. “We are lucky to have him here. He is working at the interface of physics and biology and needs the support of both communities.”Samuel said he was attracted to Berg’s lab — and biophysics generally — because so many fundamental biological questions remain unanswered that he felt there were ample opportunities to conduct basic research.“You can do fundamental work quickly. That’s not so easy to do in physics,” Samuel said.Samuel received his doctorate in biophysics in 1999, spent four years doing postdoctoral research at Harvard, and then became an assistant professor of physics in 2003. He became an associate professor in 2007 and professor of physics in 2010.Over his career, Samuel has come to understand what he calls the “inefficiencies” in science, the research down blind alleys that can consume a lot of effort but yield no results. As the leader of his own lab, Samuel said he tries to touch base with each lab member daily instead of waiting for lab meetings, to head off forays down paths that won’t prove fruitful.“I try to make sure everyone is working on solvable problems,” Samuel said.
The Office for Sustainability is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award to be presented at this year’s Green Carpet Awards on April 12 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. Frederick H. Abernathy, the Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Abbot and James Lawrence Research Professor of Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Rob Gogan, associate manager of recycling and waste at Campus Services, will receive the award for their tremendous leadership and commitment to sustainability at Harvard.The annual Green Carpet Awards event celebrates the many staff, faculty and students who have made significant contributions to on-campus sustainability initiatives, including greenhouse gas emission reductions. This year’s event will be MC’d by Pete Davis, the student behind the Harvard Thinks Big series, and will feature student videos as well as performances by the Harvard Undergraduate Drummers (THUD) and Cowgill, a band including students from the GSD and GSAS. Harvard Kennedy School alumnus Lester Brown, M.P.A. ’62, will be honored with the first-ever Distinguished Service Award.The Spengler-Vautin Special Achievement Award acknowledges that a partnership between faculty, students and administrative staff is the key to our success. In addition to the award, 60 staff and students will be recognized with individual awards and team awards will be presented in five categories. To see the list of nominated individuals and finalists for the team awards, visit: www.green.harvard.edu/greencarpet2012. Read Full Story
When it comes to human dietary health, less red meat is better. And when it comes to environmental health, a chicken looks more like a nut than a cow.That was a portion of the presentation by Harvard health experts to restaurateurs, chefs, and food industry leaders during a three-day leadership summit at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.The advice, in this case from Walter Willett, chair of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Frederick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, was part of a larger meeting of the minds involving leaders in the food industry, nutrition experts, and authorities on environmental sustainability that aimed to provide guidance in designing menus across America.The event, called “Menus of Change: The Business of Healthy, Sustainable, Delicious Food Choices,” was co-sponsored by the Nutrition Department and the Culinary Institute of America. It featured a broad spectrum of speakers on topics including health, sustainability, portion sizes, menu trends, sugar-sweetened beverages, chefs as leaders of change, technology and innovation, and changing demographics and consumer demands.The event also featured the release of the Menus of Change 2013 Annual Report, which provided an update on how the industry is doing in 13 key areas — scoring better in some than in others, but not great in any — as well as 24 principles that can guide chefs in designing healthier, more environmentally sustainable menus.The principles include using whole, minimally processed foods; using more seafood and less sugar, salt, and red meat; using healthy oils and fats; reducing portion sizes; thinking about produce first when designing a menu; and drawing inspiration globally for plant-based dishes.Greg Drescher, vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at the Culinary Institute of America, a New York-based college, said the annual report was the result of more than a year’s work and aims to provide useful advice to people devising menus amid conflicting health claims and food fads. The report also takes into account the realities of the food industry, including economic concerns and consumer preferences and values.The cooperation of chefs across America is increasingly important to the nation’s health. Arlin Wasserman, founder of Changing Tastes, a consulting group to Fortune 100 food companies, said Americans now spend 60 cents of each dollar eating out and buying prepared foods, rather than buying ingredients to prepare meals at home.In discussing the science behind the report, Willett said that although the obesity epidemic continues, there is some good news. The American diet, he said, has improved over the last decade, albeit slightly. Half of the increase has been from an 80 percent reduction in the use of unhealthy trans-fats.Studies also show that the dietary improvement has been much greater among those in higher-income groups, Willett said, an indication that efforts must increase to reach America’s disadvantaged.“I find this encouraging that we are improving the U.S. diet, but everyone does need to redouble their efforts,” Willett said.With an eye toward human-induced climate change, Willett showed an analysis of the greenhouse gas production required to produce different foods. Beef and lamb were the highest, producing 10 times the greenhouse gases used by the lowest-producing foods, beans and nuts. When looking at protein sources, Willett said that greenhouse gas production per pound of protein is related to how long an animal lives before it is slaughtered. The difference between a cow, which lives two to four years, and a chicken, whose life span from egg to slaughter is just weeks, makes chicken, from a greenhouse gas standpoint, more like a nut than a cow.The lesson, Willett said, is that in making menu choices, the healthy option and the environmentally sustainable one are often the same. One area of tension, he said, is in seafood. Nutritional experts recommend increasing the amount of fish in the diet at a time when many wild stocks are overfished, and some are collapsing. The answer, Willett said, may be to devise environmentally friendly methods to raise fish through aquaculture.“The basic choice of foods has a huge impact on the environment,” Willett said. “Replacing red meat with almost anything will improve” diet and the environment. “I think that’s a clear message for those designing menus.”Simon Marshall, president of Unilever Food Solutions North America, which makes Lipton teas, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and Knorr soups, said the company is happy to be part of the Menus of Change initiative and outlined several steps it is taking to improve its operations. Whether the driving force is obesity or environmental degradation, it’s clear to those in the food industry that change is on the way, he said. If the whole world were to live at European standards, sustaining it would take three planet Earths. If the world lived at American standards, it would take four.“No change is no longer an option,” Marshall said. “Momentum for change is building.”
Read Full Story After experiencing a tragic and truncated end to the 2013 Boston Marathon, race organizers were faced not only with grief but with hundreds of administrative decisions, including plans for the 2014 race – an event beloved by Bostonians and people around the world.One of the issues they faced was what to do about the nearly 6,000 runners who were unable to complete the 2013 race. The Boston Athletic Association, the event’s organizers, quickly pledged to provide official finish times for these runners. Thinking ahead, they also had to consider how to provide these runners with an opportunity to qualify for the 2014 race.To seek advice on these issues, they contacted Richard Smith, a statistician and marathon runner at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematics Sciences Institute (SAMSI) based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. They asked Smith to come up with a statistical procedure for predicting each runner’s likely finish time based on their pace up to the last checkpoint before they had to stop.“Once I got their email,” said Smith, “of course I knew I had to help them.” Smith already knew the organizers, as a result of a previous occasion when he provided advice related to the event’s qualifying times.
Just about all parents would agree — infants undergo a nearly magical transformation from 3 to 6 months. Seemingly overnight, they can smile and laugh, and they squeal with delight when tickled. They babble, have “conversations” with those around them, and start to respond to their own names.A new Harvard study adds one more item to the list — solving the invariance problem.Among the thorniest challenges in the study of speech perception, the invariance problem was first identified in the 1950s, when scientists began using instruments to analyze spoken language.What they discovered was that although syllables such as “ba,” “be,” and “bo” all sound as if they begin with the same consonant sound, in fact, each is different, in some cases dramatically so. Why, then, did people interpret the sounds as being identical?It’s a question that is at the heart of a new study co-authored by Jean-Remy Hochmann, a postdoctoral fellow working in the lab of Susan Carey, the Henry A. Morss Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology, and Liuba Papeo, a postdoctoral fellow working in the Harvard Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory of Alfonso Caramazza. The research, described in a recent paper in Psychological Science, shows that children as young as 6 months can solve the invariance problem.To analyze speech perception among 3- and 6-month-old infants, the researchers designed two experiments aimed at testing the motor theory of speech perception, long the prevailing idea for how individuals manage the invariance problem.“The idea of the motor theory is that what we ultimately interpret is not so much the sound we hear, but the articulatory gesture that is the origin of the sound,” Hochmann said. “The reason we hear the same sound for each syllable would be because we all know how to make that sound, so when you make that sound, my brain interprets how to make that sound, and therefore I can understand it.”Several recent discoveries, particularly the emergence of what researchers call “mirror” neurons, which fire both when performing and when observing an action, have bolstered the theory.Hochmann and colleagues wanted to test a particular idea in the motor theory — that the ability to solve the invariance problem only appears once an individual has produced syllables and learned to associate a sound with the way it is produced. Therefore, the invariance problem should not be solved before infants babble actual syllables, which rarely occurs before they are 7 months old.Testing was anything but easy, due in no small part to the fact that the subjects could barely sit up, let alone answer questions. The solution was a unique experimental design that not only tracked infants’ eyes, but measured when, and by how much, their pupils dilated when listening to spoken words.“This technology has been around for 10 years or so … and there are many labs using eye tracking with infants, but the studies that used it were largely looking at anticipation,” Hochmann said. “This is one of the first that looks at pupillometry, and is the first we know of that shows an affect for acoustic stimuli. Others have used it for visual stimuli, but this is the first to use purely acoustic stimuli — that’s an important distinction, because you expect the pupil to react to visual changes, but not necessarily to acoustic changes.”The study involved two experiments, separate but nearly identical in design, one to test the validity of the method, and the other to test whether infants could solve the invariance problem.In a darkened room, infants sat with their parents in front of a computer screen that played a video designed to hold their attention and allow the eye-tracking system to work properly. In the first experiment, infants listened to a voice repeat a single syllable over and over. In a quarter of the tests, however, the voice included a new, unique syllable.“The idea is that when they hear the new sound, it should come as a surprise, and it should increase their attention as exhibited by pupil dilation,” Hochmann said. “That worked with both 3- and 6-month-olds, and showed the experimental design would work.”In the second experiment, infants heard a voice that repeated syllables that, while different, all began with the same consonant — for example, “ba,” “be,” and “bo.” In some instances, a syllable beginning with a different consonant sound was included.“If they can perceive the same consonant in different syllables, they should react to the one syllable that has a different consonant,” Hochmann explained. “What we found was that while 3-month-olds showed no reaction, 6-month-olds did react.”Hochmann said he hopes to explore whether the results can be demonstrated using other consonants, whether simplifying the stimulus might produce a result in younger infants, and what may be changing between the ages of 3 and 6 months that allows infants to solve the invariance problem.
What’s it like to win a Nobel Prize? To find out, the Harvard Gazette sat down with two men who know.Adams University Professor Eric Maskin and Oliver Hart, the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics, each won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel — Maskin in 2007 and Hart last month.In a conversation just days after Hart received the prestigious award, the two colleagues and friends looked back on their lives, and discussed everything from the perks that come with joining the cohort of Nobel winners to the childhood ambitions that launched their distinguished careers.
Viola Davis, the popular actress, producer, director, activist, businesswoman, and philanthropist, has been named the 2017 Artist of the Year. She will be awarded the Harvard Foundation’s arts medal at a ceremony on March 4 during the 32nd annual Cultural Rhythms Festival in Memorial Hall’s Sanders Theatre.“The students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation are delighted to present the acclaimed television and film artist Viola Davis with the 2017 Artist of the Year award,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation. “Our student committee praised her outstanding contributions to American and international film and theater. She recently received the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and British Academy of Films and Television Arts awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play ‘Fences.’”Davis co-starred in the play’s 2010 Broadway revival opposite Denzel Washington, who also joined her in the film adaptation. Her performance earned her a Tony Award, as well as the Drama Critic’s Circle Award, Outer Critic’s Circle Award, and Drama Desk Award.On television, Davis currently stars on “How to Get Away with Murder,” for which she received the 2014 and 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series. In 2015, she also won an Emmy in the same category, becoming the first African-American to do so.Born in St. Matthews, S.C., Davis grew up in Central Falls, R.I., and has remained active in the community there, raising money for the town’s library and Central Falls High School. She and her husband, Julius Tennon, founded a multiethnic film, television, and theater production company, JuVee Productions, in 2012. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Davis received an honorary doctorate during its 109th Commencement ceremony. She also holds an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from her alma mater, Rhode Island College.The Harvard Foundation, the University’s center for intercultural initiatives, honors the nation’s most acclaimed artists and scientists each year. Previous Harvard Foundation awards have been presented to distinguished artists including Shakira, LL Cool J, Quincy Jones, Queen Latifa, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Salma Hayek, Wyclef Jean, Eva Longoria, and Lucy Liu.The Artist of the Year award will be presented during the 32nd annual Harvard Cultural Rhythms Festival. The program begins at 4 p.m. on March 4 at Sanders Theatre. For ticket information visit the Harvard Foundation website.
The recipients of the annual Peter J. Gomes S.T.B. ’68 Memorial Honors are typically people who have changed the world. This year’s group is no different, with one important exception: They were also chosen for the way they changed Harvard Divinity School.“This year we celebrate the School’s bicentennial,” said Dean David N. Hempton. “We look forward to a future of continued leadership in the study of religion, but we also look back at our legacy and at the leaders who have changed HDS. The honorees have all made important contributions to the process of opening to new knowledge, new ideas, and new voices that has become our hallmark.”Chosen each year by the HDS Alumni/Alumnae Council, the Gomes honorees represent the diverse personal and professional paths on which HDS graduates have an impact. This year, the council recognizes the preacher and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams, B.D. ’64; the activist and educator Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, M.T.S. ’01; Mary E. Hunt, M.T.S. ’74, the feminist theologian and cofounder of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual; and the scholar David Little, Th.D. ’63, formerly the T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at HDS. The AAC also recognizes two non-alumni who had an outsized impact on HDS: Constance Buchanan, founding director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, and the late Buddhist scholar Robert H.L. Slater, the first director of the Center for the Study of World Religions. Read Full Story