01 Dec 1999

Pearson Hunt

Editor, 1942-1946
by Pearson Hunt


During my time as editor of the Bulletin, the Alumni Office was staffed by one secretary whose principal job was to obtain news of alumni and prepare the notes for the next issue. The Bulletin was published quarterly with a 6-by-9 1/2 -inch page size and with no advertising. My editorial assignment was in addition to my duties as an assistant professor of finance.

The objective was to generate reader interest in the issues beyond alumni notes. We often did this by printing faculty members' thoughts on topics relevant to managers. We usually received these insights in the form of a disk with the record of a lecture to an alumni club, which my secretary and I deciphered and did our best to transform into something publishable. With no cues for sentence or paragraph breaks, this transformation from disk to text was difficult and time-consuming, so I was very relieved when one professor gave me his recording with the instruction: "Don't change a word of it." I never learned if he was pleased with what he saw in print.

There was little routine during World War II, when the School hosted a number of programs designed to support the war effort. The Bulletin furnished news of the Industrial Administrator Program, the Army Quartermaster Corps School, the Navy Supply Corps School, and the Army Air Forces Statistical School (where I did my teaching), as well as the Navy's Contract Termination course in the ending months of the war. The curricula required new cases and field trips to installations so that courses would be pertinent to winning the war. Classes met year-round, and the pace was hectic: I remember one year when the Fourth of July was not a holiday, just another Thursday.

During the war years, two issues of the Bulletin presented particular challenges. In 1945, it was decided that the war had made it impossible to hold the annual Alumni Conference at the School. With the help of the Dean's Office, we instead published a special "Alumni Conference in Print" issue with material that would have been presented at the customary annual meeting.

In 1942, we organized a special issue when Dean Donham announced that he would retire - ending a term that began in 1919. With the help of numerous faculty (especially Malcolm McNair), we put together an issue with tributes to this many-sided man from a long list of distinguished scholars, including N.S.B. Gras, Melvin T. Copeland, Arthur H. Cole, Elton Mayo, and Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead, a philosophy professor at Harvard, wrote: "Dean Donham is one of a group of businessmen and educators who have gone far to avert the disaster of an American social revolution." I can report that I had a phone call from the Dean saying that we had done "a good job." Since praise like this was hard to obtain, I remain grateful to this day.

In those days the editor was ex officio a member of the alumni council. So I participated in the decisions to employ a full-time alumni secretary and to open the Bulletin to advertising - and returned to my academic work after 1946.

(Now an emeritus professor at HBS, Pearson Hunt is enjoying an active retirement from his home in Cambridge.)


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