A model faculty Mike Smith recalls his road traveled, and outlines path ahead At the beginning of last week’s faculty reception that celebrated Michael D. Smith’s deanship of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Harvard President Larry Bacow joked about the long line of presenters — “47 of them” — prepared to offer praise and appreciation for the former leader.Though the group actually taking the podium would in fact number only six, their shared stories resonated deeply with an audience who responded with extended applause and heartfelt laughter.Bacow led the program with an anecdote about first meeting Smith at an honorary-degree dinner at Annenberg Hall, where the former FAS dean complimented Bacow, then a member of the Harvard Corporation, on his cufflinks. When Bacow later gifted him his own set, Smith replied, “Thank you for very much, Larry, for helping to hold me together.”“Now it’s my turn to say thank you for helping to hold us together for the past 11 years. It was always about the School, about your faculty, colleagues, and staff,” he said. “You are the essence of what a servant leader is about.”Former Harvard President Drew Faust followed, noting that she felt nostalgic saying goodbye in the same room where she had introduced Smith as dean more than 11 years ago.“How can it be this many years later and how come it’s not 100 years later?” she asked. “From the outset, Mike took on such an enormous sense of responsibility for making it right for FAS through the financial crisis and staying on top of all of those issues and making really tough decisions — unpopular decisions — but things he knew he had to do for the good of the institution.”,The accolades covered all aspects of his deanship, from his commitment to changing faculty culture related to teaching and diversity to his launch of House renewal.Jim Waldo, the Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, who for 11 years has co-taught with Smith, the John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering, praised his colleague’s innovative teaching while dean. (Their students mapped campus surveillance cameras in one class). Mahzarin Banaji, the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics and chair of the Department of Psychology, said Smith provided her “most meaningful” role at the University when he appointed her senior adviser to the dean nine years ago.“He was committed to every discipline and its unique history. He cared to get it right, and so he asked hard questions and he asked to be persuaded,” she said.,Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. brought equal parts humor and admiration to his words for Smith. Joking about his earliest impressions, Gates recalled that he wasn’t sure the two spoke the same language (“budget cuts”). Even Smith’s commitment to daily 5 a.m. swims confounded Gates, who was at that time “turning over for the last three or four hours of sleep.”“Damn, I thought, this is going to be a long deanship. This guy is a machine.”But then Gates turned serious, calling Smith’s support of the 2014 opening of the Cooper Gallery and his effort to promote and recruit faculty of color “unparalleled” and “extraordinarily productive.” He ticked off a partial list that included Glenda Carpio, Danielle Allen, Teju Cole, Sarah Lewis, Isaiah Andrews, Braxton Shelley, and Tiya Miles, and ended by revising engineer James Kip Finch’s quote: “The engineer has been, and is, a maker of history.”“Engineers do make history,” said Gates, “but I’ll add, in some instances, they do make culture.”Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the FAS, closed with a gift for the honoree. The Mark Steele painting featuring all 20 FAS deans showed Smith standing in his dean’s office with House renewal shovels and his dog, Cosmo, by his side. Gay thanked him for being a challenging, supportive, and inspiring boss.“Mike really sought out diverse perspectives, embraced them, really, and knew how to make every member of his team feel valued, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way,” she said. “You’re part of a long line of distinguished deans, but I hope you never forget that you were a one-of-a-kind boss.” FAS dean’s investment in world-class scholars is paying dividends The child who wanted to be a used-car salesman grew up to be long-term dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Related
GREG DIXON/Herald photoThe Wisconsin women’s hockey team — fresh off a weekend sweep of No. 3 New Hampshire — hosts Minnesota State Mankato this weekend in WCHA conference play at the Kohl Center.The series against the Mavericks is the start of a five-game homestand for the Badgers that includes matchups with St. Cloud State and the U.S. Select Team.The Mavericks come to Madison with a 3-6-1 WCHA record, good for sixth place. The series will be the first matchup between the two this season.Top-ranked Wisconsin, which owns an undefeated record at 14-0-2 overall, enters the home series with plenty of momentum. Head coach Mark Johnson said in his Monday press conference that Wisconsin will not be overlooking Mankato.“There’s no layups right now within our league,” Johnson said. “And so as we approach it as a coaching staff — and I think the mentality of our players is very similar — no matter what we did Saturday or last Friday, that’s not going to help us beat Mankato on Friday afternoon.”Johnson’s press conference highlighted the successes of senior Jessie Vetter, leadership of senior Erika Lawler and intensity of junior Meghan Duggan. All three players have been integral parts of Wisconsin during their time at UW.Vetter picked up her 31st shutout of her four-year career at Wisconsin against New Hampshire last weekend in Florida, and Duggan and Lawler continue to be the driving forces behind the Badger’s explosive offense.Johnson noted the perseverance Vetter displayed as a sophomore and spoke about the steady growth that has contributed to the senior netminder being among the top goalies in the world today.“I think the biggest storyline with [Vetter] is that she redshirted her first year, and in our business, that’s real difficult to do, obviously, with our scholarships and the numbers that you carry,” Johnson said. “But we were able to talk that out that first year, and the end result is four years later you’re seeing an athlete that is certainly mature, has played at a very high level, has played at the international level, has a few gold medals in her back pocket.”Lawler, the Badgers’ captain, earned Johnson’s praise for her commitment to the program, her leadership qualities and her skills on the ice.“[Lawler] may not be big in stature, but she’s got a gigantic heart,” Johnson said. “And where the puck is, she’s going after it.”Duggan, who like Lawler is on the Badgers’ top 10 all-time scoring list, received acclaim from Johnson for her positive attitude.“She’s got some energy, and she just enjoys what she’s doing and certainly enjoys being here Madison and being part of our program and certainly has the opportunity to do some other things on the international level here in the next couple of years,” Johnson said. “And so I think she’s just enjoying what’s going on at this particular junction within her life.”When asked what makes this year’s team different from teams of past years, Johnson noted that the depth of UW’s forwards gives this year’s squad an edge. Lawler and Duggan lead the offense, but it is fueled by young goal scorers sophomore Hilary Knight and freshman Brooke Ammerman. The offense is also solidified by the strong two-way play of Angie Keseley, Jasmine Giles and many others.“I think after our first game down in Florida, when talking with the UNH staff, they were very impressed with the depth of our forwards, and I think probably right now, as I look back over the last month-and-a-half or two months, we’re pretty deep in those areas,” Johnson said. “And so teams will have difficult times matching up with our depth there. And so the scoring coming from different people on given nights really makes you difficult to defend against.”
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