Goodbye the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), hello the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). It's not a name change, officially, since we are still the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University--but it is a make-over for sure. Check out the new web site to get a taste.
This re-branding brings to mind an earlier, ill-fated effort in 1981 by then-Dean Graham Allison. Then, the goal was to shift away from the name "Kennedy," so as to facilitate fund raising during the Reagan era--or so some claimed. Here is what happened, as described in the New York Times:
When students arrived for registration in the fall of 1981, they found the abbreviation H.S.G. - for Harvard School of Government - had replaced K.S.G. in schedules and course listings. After The Boston Globe blew the whistle on what it called a ''first step in minimizing the association of the Kennedy name with the school,'' President Bok - who sources say was ''surprised and angered'' by Allison's strategy - hastily declared that Harvard had no intention of wiggling away from the Kennedy name.
So the plan was shelved, but it was too late to assuage the Democrats on the Cambridge City Council:
The Irish and Italian politicians on the Cambridge City Council didn't get mad, they got even, changing the name of the street on which the school fronts from Boylston Street to John F. Kennedy Street, so that the name would have to go on the school's stationery, whatever it was called.
In other words, we went from the Kennedy School of Government at 79 Boylston Street, to the Kennedy School of Government at 79 Kennedy Street.
And now of course, we are HKS, in parallel with HBS and HLS. HBS teaches business, HLS teaches law, and we teach... Never mind.