Presidential Search Committee Unveiled, With Corp. Dominating Panel

Same structure that was used in searches to replace Bok and Rudenstine

The University’s newly-unveiled nine-person presidential search committee will include an art historian, a computer scientist, and a trial lawyer, along with six Harvard Corporation members.

The committee maintains the same structure that was used for Harvard’s last two presidential searches—with three members of the Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing board, joining the Corporation fellows. Today’s announcement indicates that the secretive Corporation will again play a dominant role in choosing Harvard’s next leader.

More than a year after President Lawrence H. Summers delivered his now-infamous speech examining the under-representation of women in the upper echelons of science and engineering, a female professor of electrical engineering and computer science will help to choose Summers’ successor. Susan L. Graham ’64 teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and she has served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers since 2001.

Two of the search committee members have served as college chiefs themselves. Frances D. Fergusson, who holds a doctorate in art history from Harvard, has been the president of Vassar College, a 2,500-student school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for nearly two decades. She joined the Board of Overseers in 2002.

The other former college head on the committee is Corporation member Nannerl O. Keohane, a past president of Wellesley College and Duke University.

A lawyer who specializes in intellectual property litigation, William F. Lee ’72, will also join the search committee. He was an aide to the independent counsel who investigated Reagan administration officials’ involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, and he is now the co-managing partner of the law firm WilmerHale. He joined the Board of Overseers in 2002.

The longest-serving member of the Harvard Corporation, James R. Houghton ’58, will chair the search committee. Houghton is also the chairman of the glass and fiber-optic cable manufacturer Corning.

The other members of the Corporation are economist Robert D. Reischauer ’63, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office; investment manager James F. Rothenberg ’68; and Robert E. Rubin ’60, who preceded Summers as Treasury secretary.

Georgetown law professor Patricia A. King, who is set to join the Corporation in May, will also serve on the search committee.