John F. Kennedy School Of Government

By Ali Chaitin
BU News Service

CAMBRIDGE — Tucked into a pocket along the Charles River near Harvard Square, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of government memorializes the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

“We are inspired by John F. Kennedy’s famous call to service: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.’ Each one of us believes we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to meet the critical challenges of our time,” writes Dean David T. Ellwood on the school’s website.

The Graduate School of Public Administration opened in 1932 and was made possible in part from a $2 million gift from Harvard alumnus Lucius N. Littauer to support his dream for a school that would teach some professionalism in a new era of government. By 1964, the Harvard University Institute of Politics had merged with The Graduate School of Public Administration. The combined entity was renamed The Kennedy School of Government in 1966 in honor of the late president.

Amanda Benton, a student at the Kennedy School studying public policy, believes that the theme of giving back to your community comes through in her classes.

“It says everywhere ‘ask what you can do’ and I think for me that is part of why I came because I wanted to figure out how I could give back and gain the school’s skills and tools on how to be a policy maker,” said Benton.

In a 1965 press release, a former President of Harvard University, Nathan Pusey, announced that Professor Richard E. Neustadt of Columbia University, would become the new Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration and Professor of Government. Neustadt had served in the Truman Administration and had occasionally been an advisor to Kennedy during his presidency.

Pusey’s press release said that the school would be: “a new kind of institution in American life within a university setting, which will furnish a meeting place for the scholars and for individuals pursuing careers in practical politics and public service.”

The school offers masters and doctoral programs in subjects such as public policy and public administration.

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