"The first great center of area studies in the United States was not located in any university, but in Washington," McGeorge Bundy, onetime dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and then president of the Ford Foundation, observed in 1964. The OSS, he said, was "a remarkable institution, half cops-and-robbers and half faculty meeting."
OSS alums played the major role in establishing regional centers in major universities after the war. Their wartime reports were frequently the basis for monographs that would establish reputations, secure jobs, and become the springboard for further professional success. John K. Fairbank returned to Harvard from his time in China to set up the largest postwar program in East Asian studies. W. Norman Brown, head of the India desk, went on to found the first department of South Asian studies in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania, hiring many of the academics who had worked with him in Washington. Geroid T. Robinson went from his role as head of the Russia desk to become the first head of the Russian Institute at Columbia University.V/R