Henry Kissinger Comes Home
Newsweek/The Daily Beast
April 16, 2012
Commentary by: Niall Ferguson, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Henry Kissinger’s visit to Harvard
“A successful college graduate is, as a general rule, loved by his alma mater. The more prominent he becomes, the more phone calls he receives. If he really makes the big time, there are invitations to host grand dinners, receive honorary degrees, give commencement addresses … and of course, bestow his name on this or that chair or building (as well as on a very large check).
There are, however, a few painful exceptions to this rule. No graduate of Oxford University did more to restore Britain’s postwar economic fortunes than Margaret Thatcher. Yet in 1985 Oxford dons voted against giving the then–prime minister an honorary doctorate degree, an unprecedented snub.
There was a similar—though if anything more bitter—rift between Henry Kissinger and his alma mater, Harvard. But last week, after decades of estrangement, Kissinger returned to the university where he studied and taught. It was an emotional occasion. It was also a fascinating sign of how liberal America is changing.”