New Currier Master To Bring Quiet Style

On the front flap of Joseph L. Badaracco’s best-selling book Leading Quietly, the Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School (HBS) lauds people who “choose responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges.”

Badaracco will have the chance to bring that style of leadership to the students of Currier House next year as their new master.

“He’s written works on moral leadership and is coming into our House in a leadership position,” says Lacey Whitmire ’05, Currier House Committee president. “It will be interesting to see how he takes leadership in the House.”

Badaracco refers to the new post as an “adventure.”

“To spend a lot of your time with an extremely diverse group of people with all sorts of energy and ideas, I’d take that over a suburb any day,” he says.

Patricia O’Brien, Badaracco’s wife and future co-master, says she and Badaracco accepted the appointment “on the spot” when they received an offer from Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68.

While Badaracco, 54, teaches at HBS, O’Brien, 50 is dean of the business school of Simmons College in Back Bay.

The appointment of an HBS faculty member as House master is rare, but the new masters say they feel that their business backgrounds make them very well-suited to the job.

“We’ll more naturally think about the organization of the House and its management,” Badaracco says. “We hope to practice what we preach.”

O’Brien also says that she feels that her position as dean of the Business School at Simmons College gives her much of the experience necessary to be an effective co-master.

“Every time someone described the master’s position, they would say that the masters set the tone for the House, and deans very much set the tone for schools,” she says.

And outgoing Currier House Master William A. Graham says that he is not concerned that neither Badaracco nor O’Brien is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

“We have a number of non-FAS masters,” says Graham, who is dean of the Divinity School.

Graham also says that the House’s current roster of tutors is “possibly the strongest in a dozen years,” and that they will serve as a major source of support for the new masters.

Badaracco also says he is considering teaching courses in the FAS.

“[Dean of Undergraduate Education Benedict H. Gross ’71] asked if I’d be interested in teaching a freshman seminar, and I said ‘Sure,’” he says.