Education: Master Novelist

"It's your baby," says President Kingman Brewster when he appoints a new master to one of Yale's twelve residential colleges. "You take the college where you want it to go." Last week, breaking the tradition of choosing masters from the academic world, Brewster named John Hersey, 50, master of Pierson College, in an experiment to find where a nonacademic novelist and journalist will want a college to go.

Loosely modeled after the ancient college enclaves of Oxford and Cambridge, the Yale colleges, like the Harvard "houses," were organized in the early 1930s to form...

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