01 Dec 1999
Editor, 1962-1981by Ted AnthonyTopics:
On May 20, 1970, a new Executive Education facility, George Pierce Baker Hall, was dedicated in honor of the School's fifth Dean. The event is one of the most memorable in my tenure as Bulletin editor because it came during a period of significant transition at the School. For half a century, the attitudes and objectives of students and faculty at HBS had been fairly consistent from one year to the next, but the early '70s marked a turning point. The School was not immune to the unprecedented social and political upheaval triggered by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
That spring, as the Cambodian invasion was launched, unrest on university campuses spread rapidly through the country. At HBS, in the wake of the May 4 student shootings at Kent State, a group of over a thousand people gathered spontaneously on the lawn in front of Baker Library to debate the issues of the day. In a report to Harvard President Nathan Pusey that we reprinted in the September-October 1970 Bulletin, HBS Dean Lawrence E. Fouraker described the proceedings:
"Students, faculty, staff, and some children were present. A motion to have a formal student referendum was defeated. A set of resolutions, rather hastily drawn that morning, were debated. The discussion was pointed but not strident. . . . A motion to request that May 12 be designated an open day for an organized program directed to the issues was introduced and passed. . . . I was interested in the discussion and deliberations of the meeting, for it was apparent that a substantial portion of the Business School population was present."
The students' May 12 program included constructive discussions on topics ranging from riot control techniques to the social and political responsibility of managers. Unfortunately, the hopeful tone of that day was shattered when the tragic killings at Jackson State prompted a new round of demonstrations on campus, including a strike by our African-American students protesting the lack of concern, nationally and at HBS, for the shootings at the Mississippi university.
The strike began on May 18, two days before a large and distinguished gathering of luminaries, including President Pusey and HBS faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, assembled on campus for Baker Hall's dedication. The ceremony took place as planned but only after a forceful demonstration by the striking students. To many of us that day it became clear that the familiar style of doing things at Harvard Business School was disappearing and that the institution - along with the rest of the country - would have to adapt to a very different set of conditions.
(In retirement, Ted Anthony enjoys travel and family activities at his homes in Massachusetts and Hawaii.)