To Professor Laurel Ulrich, my dissertation advisor, who was just named University Professor. Her students are pleased as punch and very, very proud.
The University Professorships, first created by the President and Fellows in 1935, are chairs intended for "individuals of distinction ... working on the frontiers of knowledge, and in such a way as to cross the conventional boundaries of the specialties."
The University Professorship, it seems, comes with some ancient and honorable privileges. It has been confirmed that University Professors may graze cows (but not sheep) in Harvard Yard. No word yet on whether or not Professor Ulrich is permitted to carry a sword to class or collect firewood in the Yard.
Of pressing interest to Professor Ulrich's graduate students: will we be paid for looking after the cows? Will we be permitted to engage in hands-on learning with our undergraduate students, teaching them the fine art of making cheese? Can we set up a buttery in Robinson Hall's Great Space? Can we reduce our grocery bills by bringing home fresh milk? Who assists with calving?
**UPDATE** Professor Ulrich might be entitled to have sheep and/or cows. The jury is still out. But apparently she would have to give some of the "proceeds" to Massachusetts Hall. Which simply begs the question, what would Larry Summers do with butter/raw milk/cheese/wool/mutton that he would receive?