01 Jun 2008
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Letters to the Editor

Re: Sally Wilkinson (MBA 1960); Dick America (MBA 1963)

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Christensen as Classmate

I was delighted to read your excellent tribute to HBS professor Chris Christensen in the March issue. It has a wonderful description of his years on the faculty but less about his character and virtually nothing about his years as a student.

Chris and I were “can” mates (suite mates). He kind of volunteered as a mentor and even then showed skill in giving guidance, which was quite useful and readily acceptable.

He was confident without being arrogant; interested without being meddlesome; loyal, without compromising principle; and a man of conviction able to keep an open mind. He had a great personality and was honest and honorable and in every sense a “good guy.” I am sure that he continued to have all of these characteristics as a faculty member.

K. Martin Worthy
(MBA 5/’43)
St. Simons Island, GA

Praise for Christensen

When I took Chris Christensen’s class, I had no idea that it would become the most important class in my work as an Episcopal priest. I enrolled in seminary five years after graduation from HBS and discovered that real care for people was not taught nearly as well in seminary as it was by Professor Christensen. In my 31 years as a diocesan executive, I had no reason to change my mind. His respect for people was at the core of his being, as was his belief that executives had a responsibility to bring out the best in people.

William Geisler
(MBA ’60)
San Anselmo, CA

Error of Omission

I read with great interest the article “A History of Women at HBS” in the March issue. However, I was dismayed to see that the caption “Sign Me Up” not only contained an error but ignored, as did the text, the historical significance of that particular photograph. It was taken in Baker Library in September 1959. The three women pictured registering were June 1959 graduates of the one-year Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration (HRPBA). They were (left to right) Roberta Moniz (later Lasley), Diana Greer, and Sara Beth Wilkinson. These three were the first women to be admitted into the second year of the MBA Program and in June 1960 became the first women MBA graduates of HBS.

One would have hoped that these first women to receive an MBA degree from HBS would have been both identified and recognized for their pioneering accomplishment.

Judith S. Gibson
(HRPBA 1959, MBA ’65)
Short Hills, NJ

Separate and Unequal

Your March article “A History of Women at HBS” omitted an important category — women in the early sixties who were not admitted to the first-year at HBS. Instead, their only option was to attend a separate and unequal first-year class at the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, a nondegree program. The women were then allowed to apply for the second year at HBS, and fewer than ten were accepted. In the second-year program, they were given no housing or section designation, and a professor could deny entrance to his course.

When job interviews started on campus, women’s names were scratched from the interview list. Recruiters refused to interview them because it was a “waste of time.” I know, because this happened to me. I was part of this forgotten class.

Joan Oxman Rothberg
(HRPBA 1962, MBA ’63)
Summit, NJ

Editor's Note: Dr. Edna Homa (DBA ’67) called to point out that our March story also failed to note the first women DBAs to graduate from HBS. Fortunately, the Baker Library Web site dedicated to the history of women at HBS goes into much more detail, including listing the first three women DBAs in 1967. They were Dr. Homa, Dr. Anne Jardim, and Dr. Eunice Jensen. Visit the Baker Library Web site at www.library.hbs.edu/hc/daring/.

Kudos for “American Odyssey”

I wish to applaud you for the article “An American Odyssey” in the March issue. How Richard America has chosen to utilize his HBS education to address global social injustices is awesome and quite inspiring. Particularly, I appreciate that the historical roots of racism were not “sugarcoated” and that the depths of ongoing institutional racism surfaced, along with options to do something about it. This article serves as a wake-up call for all HBS alumni to determine what if any role each of us wants to take to be leaders in building a stronger nation and world to ameliorate this ongoing legacy. Keep printing such thought-provoking and effective articles about issues of global social injustices.

Joe Steele
(MBA ’83)
Craryville, NY

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Class of MBA 1943
Class of MBA 1960, Section B
Class of MBA 1965, Section B
Class of MBA 1963, Section K
Class of MBA 1983, Section D
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