CAMBRIDGE — Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust has done it again.
On May 30, under a sweltering sun, in the Tercentenary Theater, after welcoming somewhere approaching 1,500 undergraduates (all of whom formed a gauntlet through which a solitary reporter and his numerous other very happy 50th Reunioners walked, all the while begging the happy undergraduates to save our troubled world) “to the company of learned men and women,” President Faust made the following announcements.
Standing next to Oprah, President Faust said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that Barbara Wilcots has been appointed to the William Faulkner Endowed Chair in American Literature.”
“Professor Wilcots is an expert, not only on Faulkner, but on Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Spanish is her second language. Not only that, she is a very nice person married to a very nice man.”
“I considered appointing Professor Wilcots to succeed Henry Louis Gates, but, after reflection, decided that she deserves a wider audience.”
“I'm also pleased to announce that Arthur Rosenblum has joined the Faculty of Culinary Arts. Charles Holum, although having sinned as a Yalie, was rescued by a lovely small Chinese woman, who set him straight; Chuck joins the Faculty of the Scandinavian Literature Department. York Miller is the new Dean of The Medical School, where I expect him to save the life of the next Boston Marathon Bomber. Pete May Smith, Colorado Governor-in-Waiting, is the new head of the Government Department. Tim Kennedy (no relation to the sheriff guy in Light in August) will receive his appointment to the Department of English as soon as he provides me with his e-mail address. Bettina Basanow joins the Department of Portuguese, and has promised to host me and my entourage in Porto Allegre, even though that is not a tourist destination. Schuyler Wise is the new Professor of Proverbs. Paul Hodapp flunked out long ago, and inhabits that unredeemable, unrepentant place known as Santa Fe.”
“Now as to the solitary reporter, I have promised to bring him back to Cambridge every five years, all expenses paid, provided that he continues to conduct really good memorial services in The Memorial Church.”
“Come to think of it, I'm going to appoint him to be the Dean of The Divinity School, after he works without compensation for five years as the Librarian at The Law School.”