Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harvard University and Surprises

My course on portfolio optimization in the Executive Education program at Harvard University took place at Gund Hall, which is the location of the Graduate School of Design. I taught in Room 111 and had the pleasure of meeting architects, engineers, real estate executives, investors, developers, and entrepreneurs from around the globe. The students in this very intensive program come from many different countries and it was really enjoyable to interact with them although, I must say, the time available was just too short to cover half a century of topics in portfolio optimization! What really touched me was that, after my course, so many of the students wanted to be photographed with me. It was very gratifying. I also very much appreciated the very intelligent questions that the audience raised. I came prepared with not only the lecture materials, which had been copied for the students, but also with several of my books and with recent articles from Forbes and The Economist.

It was a very interesting time to be in Cambridge and to be teaching at Harvard given the incident with Professor Henry Louis Gates, whose home is located just a short walk from Harvard's Graduate School of Design (and, yes, I did see it, along with the various news crew vehicles that were still parked by it and down the street even as late as last Friday and Saturday). Every place that I ate at, the conversations at neighboring tables were about "the professor, the policeman, and the president."

Harvard Square is one of my favorite places and part of its charm is that it is such a magnet and one tends to recognize people there and to be recognized. After teaching on Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Judith Vichniac there. Dr Vichniac is the head of the Fellows program at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Of course, we exchanged hugs since she played such a pivotal role in the success of my fellowship year at Radcliffe from 2005-2006.

Part of the draw of an extended stay in Cambridge, whether as a Fellow or as an Instructor, is the opportunity to explore Boston and I share with you some photos of Boston above and below taken yesterday.