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About HGSE

Francis Keppel , 1916-1990

Dean, 1948-1962

Francis Keppel was appointed dean in 1948 by President James Bryant Conant. At 32, he was Harvard’s youngest dean. Previously, Keppel served as assistant dean of Harvard College freshmen and assistant to the Harvard University provost.

During Keppel’s fourteen year administration, the Graduate School of Education gained a strong national reputation as a leading institution for teacher preparation, advanced study, and research in education. In addition, the Ed School was known to possess a strong commitment to the recruitment and training of current practitioners. Keppel led the school through a period of unprecedented expansion.

By 1962, full-time enrollment had quadrupled to 620 students, 80 percent attending full-time (compared to only 39 percent in 1948). The school’s endowment had more than doubled to 5.8 million dollars. Admissions applications increased from less than 200 applicants in 1948 to almost 2,000 in 1962. Expansion of the campus was on the horizon when the school purchased Longfellow Hall in 1961 and made preliminary plans for the creation of a new academic building across Appian Way.

Keppel’s tenure saw the creation of a master’s of education program for elementary teaching, as well as the growth of master’s and doctoral degree programs in the fields of guidance, human development, instructional research, history and philosophy of education, administration, sociology of education, measurement and statistics, and teacher education. He also sponsored experimental programs in group teaching, programmed learning, educational television, and curriculum reform. Several centers were established or reinvigorated which increased opportunities for research and training. The Laboratory for Human Development was established in 1949, expanding research in childhood behavioral sciences. Many of the programs that Keppel established, such as the School and University Program for Research and Development, connected HGSE with nearby suburban public school systems for collaborative research and the examination of fundamental educational problems.

Keppel resigned in 1962 to become the United States Commissioner of Education under President John F. Kennedy. Leaving Washington, he served on the governing boards of several organizations including the General Learning Corporation and the Harvard University Board of Overseers. Keppel was also director of the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program. In 1976, after nearly a fifteen year absence from HGSE, he returned as a senior lecturer in education and continued to teach until his death in 1990.

About the Artist: George Augusta, American, born 1922

The portrait of Francis Keppel was painted by Boston native George Augusta in 1965. Augusta spent a week working on the portrait while Commissioner of Education Keppel was busy at work in his Washington, D.C. office. Augusta recalled Keppel as a “very easy-going charming sitter.” The papers on Keppel’s desk are school integration compliance forms as well as research funding applications from Harvard University. The painting was unveiled in the Eliot-Lyman Room on March 5, 1966. Keppel often referred to the grouping of portraits in the Eliot-Lyman Room as the “rogues’ gallery.”

George Augusta was born in Boston in 1922. He studied painting in Florence while serving in the United States Army in Italy during World War II. From 1946 to 1950, Augusta studied art with painter Ernest Lee Major, one of the last surviving members of the influential Boston School of Painting. Augusta is known primarily as a portrait artist who works with oil paints and pastels in both traditional and impressionistic styles. Augusta has been commissioned to paint the portraits of Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Berger, Harvard University President Derek Bok, First Lady Rosalyn Carter, Supreme Court Justice Lewis E. Powell, and Massachusetts Governor Francis W. Sargent.

In addition to portraiture, Augusta paints beach scenes, landscapes, figure studies, and still lifes. He is a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and the Copley Society. The portrait of Francis Keppel was painted by Boston native George Augusta in 1965. Augusta spent a week working on the portrait while Commissioner of Education Keppel was busy at work in his Washington, D.C. office. Augusta recalled Keppel as a “very easy-going charming sitter.” The papers on Keppel’s desk are school integration compliance forms as well as research funding applications from Harvard University. The painting was unveiled in the Eliot-Lyman Room on March 5, 1966. Keppel often referred to the grouping of portraits in the Eliot-Lyman Room as the “rogues’ gallery.”

George Augusta was born in Boston in 1922. He studied painting in Florence while serving in the United States Army in Italy during World War II. From 1946 to 1950, Augusta studied art with painter Ernest Lee Major, one of the last surviving members of the influential Boston School of Painting. Augusta is known primarily as a portrait artist who works with oil paints and pastels in both traditional and impressionistic styles. Augusta has been commissioned to paint the portraits of Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Berger, Harvard University President Derek Bok, First Lady Rosalyn Carter, Supreme Court Justice Lewis E. Powell, and Massachusetts Governor Francis W. Sargent.

In addition to portraiture, Augusta paints beach scenes, landscapes, figure studies, and still lifes. He is a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and the Copley Society.