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May 24, 2012

U.S. News: Harvard apologizes after Unabomber gets entry in 50th reunion book

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thumbnail Harvard apologizes after Unabomber gets entry in 50th reunion book
May 24th 2012, 15:12

Elaine Thompson / AP file

Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, is currently in a Supermax prison in Colorado.

By news services

BOSTON -- Harvard University alumni attending their 50th class reunion this week are getting updates on classmates, but one person stands out among those sharing news about career moves, retirements and grandkids: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Kaczynski graduated in 1962 and is locked up in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado for killing three people and injuring 23 during a nationwide bombing spree between 1978 and 1995. In an alumni directory, he lists his occupation as "prisoner" and says his awards are "Eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998."

The "Harvard and Radcliffe Classes of 1962 -- Fiftieth Anniversary Report" also included Kaczynski in its state-by-state listings, calling him a Colorado resident, reported The Boston Globe.

Kaczynski's nine-line entry, which also lists one publication under his name - "Technological Slavery," published by Feral House in 2010 - contrasted with many other alumns' lengthy updates on their lives. That 2010 book includes Kaczynski's so-called "manifesto," which was published by The Washington Post and The New York Times in exchange for Kaczynski's promise to end his bombing campaign.

The widow of one of his victims told The Boston Globe she was disappointed Harvard printed the Unabomber's entry.

Susan Mosser, whose husband Thomas Mosser was killed in 1994 when a package exploded in their New Jersey home, told the Globe, “Kaczynski is a con artist. He’s a serial killer; he’s a murderer ... Everything is a game for him to push people’s buttons.”

It's a decision the Harvard alumni association now regrets.

"While all members of the class who submit entries are included, we regret publishing Kaczynski's references to his convictions and apologize for any distress that it may have caused others," the Harvard Alumni Association said in a statement Wednesday evening.

The alumni association said all class members, including Kaczynski, were invited to submit entries for the class report, distributed for reunion activities during commencement week.

A Harvard spokesman said the update was submitted by Kaczynski but could not immediately say how the university confirmed that. A message seeking comment was left with Kaczynski's attorney.

Classmate: 'He could have become one of the greatest mathematicians'
Kaczynski is a Harvard-trained mathematician who also got master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.

In The Harvard Crimson "Commencement 2012/1962 Reunion Issue," published this week, one of Kaczynski's 1962 classmates recalled him as "brilliant."

“It’s just an opinion, but Ted was brilliant,” said Wayne Persons, who also lived in the same suite at Harvard as Kacznski. “I think it was a huge tragedy. He could have become one of the greatest mathematicians in the country. He wasn’t a domestic terrorist when I knew him.”

Others remembered him as a loner.

“He would just rush through the suite, go into his room, and slam the door,” Patrick McIntosh, another suitemate and Harvard graduate from 1962, told The Crimson. “And when we would go into his room there would be piles of books and uneaten sandwiches that would make the place smell.”

Kaczynski entered Harvard at just 16 years old. One of his other classmates recalled sitting at the same dining table with him from time to time.

“He was very quiet, but personable,” John Federico told The Crimson. “He would enter into the discussions maybe a little less so than most ... but he was certainly friendly. He was younger, and he seemed to be on the shy side, so you needed to make some effort to draw him in. But he could do that.”

Kaczynski later lived as a recluse in a Montana cabin, railed against technology and led authorities on the nation's longest and costliest manhunt. He was caught in 1996 when his brother recognized his idiosyncratic writings and tipped off authorities.

Kaczynski pleaded guilty two years later to avoid a trial at which his lawyer had planned to offer an insanity defense. The guilty plea also saved him from the death penalty.

Items seized from his cabin were auctioned last year by the U.S. Marshals Service for more than $200,000 to benefit his victims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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