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Henry Rosovsky (born September 1, 1927) is an economic historian, specializing in East Asia, and Harvard University administrator. From 1973 to 1984 and 1990 to 1991, Rosovsky served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, where he was previously a Professor of Economics and chair of its Department of Economics. He also served as Acting President of Harvard in 1984 and 1987 and holds the Geyser University Professorship Emeritus. After stepping down from the dean’s position, in 1985, he became a member of Harvard’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, until 1997, the first Harvard faculty member to do so in a century.
Born in the Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk) to Russian Jewish parents, Rosovsky grew up speaking Russian, German, and French. At age 13, Rosovsky came to the United States in 1940 with his family. In 1949, he received his A.B. degree from the College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. degree from Harvard in 1959. He also became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1949. He served in the US Army from 1946 to 1947 and again from 1950 to 1952. He taught economics, history and Japanese studies at the University of California at Berkeley until 1965. He has taught as a visiting professor in Japan and Israel and has worked variously as a consultant with the United States government, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and UNESCO.
In 2000, Rosovsky chaired the Task Force on Higher Education and Society with Mamphela Ramphele. The Task Force was convened by the World Bank and UNESCO to explore the future of higher education in developing countries. Its report, Peril and Promise, argued that higher education systems in poor countries are in crisis and made a case for renewed investment, curricular reform and improved standards of governance.
Rosovsky is the author of Capital Formation in Japan (1961), Quantitative Japanese Economic History (1961), Japanese Economic Growth (with K. Ohkawa, 1973) and The University: An Owner's Manual (1990). He also edited Industrialization in Two Systems (1961), Discord in the Pacific (1972), Asia's New Giant: How the Japanese Economy Works (with H. Patrick, 1976), Favorites of Fortune (with P. Higonnet and D. Landes, 1991) and The Political Economy of Japan: Cultural and Social Dynamics (with Shumpei Kumon, 1992).
Thomas Short of Commentary magazine praised The University as "a cozy book" where Rosovsky, with "a humorous, relentlessly self-deprecating manner," shares "many anecdotes from his own career in higher education."
In 1981, he received the Encyclopædia Britannica Achievement in Life Award for Achievement in Education and, in 1992, the Clark Kerr Medal for service to Higher Education from the University of California at Berkeley. in 1984 the French government made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor; in 1988 he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Star) by the Government of Japan.
- Marquis Who's Who Biographies, retrieved via LexisNexis Academic
- Dawidoff, Nicholas (July–August 2002). "Tough Love". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- Henry Rosovsky (1991). The University: An Owner's Manual. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-30783-2.
- Short, Thomas (July 1990). "The University: An Owner's Manual, by Henry Rosovsky". Commentary. Retrieved August 19, 2011.