Look to Harvard | AspenTimes.com

Look to Harvard

Dear Editor: Yes, Mike Marolt, Harvard University is in fact an apt example for why 3A and 3B have to be passed for this school district and, among other things, $700,000 raised for restored educational programs and a new middle school. Founded in 1636, Harvard University is in fact 369 years old, not 200. Certainly some of the old and historic ivy halls may still stand – but they have been wired for this thing called the Internet and surely have modern systems in place to protect the students from fire and other security concerns. The Aspen Middle school 1970s design does not have these basics and it also just ain’t Harvard yard.Harvard has certainly gone under some extensive renewal and expansion with the addition of schools of medicine, dentistry, law, business, design, divinity and public health; and the college’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences has itself branched out during the last three centuries. It even opened a college called Radcliff in the 1870s to offer higher education to women. That all called for foresight and big investments in education, youth and our nation’s future (after all, Harvard can boast seven presidents as graduates and in excess of 40 Nobel laureates – that’s this big prize they give in Sweden). In the 1870s, for example, the medical school’s endowment was increased from $2.3 million to an amazing $22.5 million. Here are other examples of good stewardship:1953-1971 – Harvard raised $82.5 million1979-1984 – Harvard University raised $356 million1991 – Harvard University increased federally sponsored research to $320 million2005 – the college recently raised $2.6 billion – the “b” means it’s a really big number.Here’s how they put it: “The University’s recent successful capital campaign, which raised $2.6 billion, has allowed the university to take meaningful steps … embarking on new construction projects to provide cutting-edge facilities for study and research.”Good buildings are not cheap – but they are worth the investment.Sure Harvard’s historic 200-year-old classrooms “work just fine” – not because of penny-pinching but because of bold leadership and lots of good old money, sweat and investment. Harvard would indeed be a very sorry place with any gullibility to Mike’s suggestion that all it was to do was “conspicuous consumption.” Luckily, the folks in Cambridge and Aspen are a lot smarter. I really do not mind that my kids and all our kids have a better school than Mike and I did. Tell you what, Mike Marolt, I’ll make some good of your “let’s try to get a chuckle letter” to the editor – I am in for another $1,000 to the Aspen Education Foundation. I know AEF has never had a problem with what you divine is conspicuous consumption, and I trust that board implicitly to spend it. I invite others to demonstrate to others with like sentiments that we can and will put our good fortunes to some really good consumption – children, books, schools, teachers, arts, sciences, sports – the future. Lets pass these measures and some!!Matt FergusonSnowmass Village