No, I didn’t flinch or stutter as I wrote the title of this article. It should be noted and emphasized that Harvard is behaving a little like Bishop’s University. Let me explain.
Last week, up-and-coming “newspaper” the The Globe and Mail published a story about the new Dean of the Harvard School of Business. This man, Nitin Nohria, made headlines because he did something that no other Dean of HSB has done in over 40 years. Mr. Nohria moved into a house on campus. “It was the only decision I made that my predecessors recommended against,” said Nohria.
Amazing. I know.
The reasons for Mr. Nohria decision to live on campus are pretty darn sound, whether you evaluate them with educational, business or community-development principles in mind. The Globe argues that Nohria argues that this marks his intention to throw-back the school to its academic and community roots. Here’s a quote of a quote from the article:
“There was a deliberate intent in which (HBS) was founded and the dean’s house was part of that. There was a feeling that this was a campus to which people would come to study and be part of a community,” says Prof. Nohria, 48, Harvard Business School’s 10th dean and the first to be born outside the US. “I always had the magical sense of this place.”
Let me tell you about a magical place. It’s called Bishop’s University and the school’s Principal – not President – is one of many faculty members and senior administration who live on campus. Today, Michael Goldbloom is the gentleman who occupies the Principal’s House these days – in my day it was the outstanding Janyne Hodder. Principals come and go, but the traditions don’t.
During every Orientation Week first-year students visit the Faculty residences – located in the heart of campus – and seranade the Principal with the Bishop’s University school song. The Principal also invites the graduating students, by Division, to a champagne reception at his home on campus at the end of the semester – it’s a chance to congratulation them and wish them well for the journey ahead…the school’s modest goal is to host every student at a function at the house before they graduate. The home isn’t just a home, it’s a hub of scholarly community building.
And these are just two examples from what is perhaps the most vibrant campus communities in Canada.
Should Harvard Business Students seranade Dean Nohria now that he lives on campus? Yes, absolutely (it would make a great Organizational Behaviour case study). But, more importantly, people setting our to sculpt and shape and mould and impact certain communities should really live there while they do it.
Congratulations, Harvard. You just got a little bit closer to Bishop’s today.