With five members of the Harvard Board of Overseers set to end their
terms this year, competition has heated up among the eight alumni
candidates running for spots in a mail-in election slated to begin this
The election, run by the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), is
open to all graduates of the University and will fill seats on the
University’s second-highest governing board.
The candidates represent a broad swath of Harvard alumni,
ranging from top CEOs to an astronomer from California. Many of those
contacted by The Crimson emphasized the impact that their Harvard
degrees played in their respective successes.
U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, who graduated
from Harvard Law School (HLS) in 1975 and is a former editor of the
Harvard Law Record, said that “those who had become successful due to
the education they received at Harvard” should give back by
volunteering their time.
Board candidate Arne S. Duncan ’86, currently CEO of Chicago
Public Schools, wrote in an e-mail that “Harvard helped shape me for a
life of public service by teaching me that with enough determination
and creativity anything is possible.”
Four of the eight candidates did not return requests for
comment. The four who responded said they hoped to bring unique
perspectives to their potential seat on the Board.
Hinojosa said he drew from his own upbringing when
emphasizing how important it is for the University to admit students
from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
“Having grown up the youngest of five children and seeing
first-hand the sacrifice that family members and parents make in order
to make sure that young people have an education, I think it is very
important that Harvard works with families to make itself available” to
those who might have difficulty funding a Harvard education, Hinojosa
Duncan connected the University’s mission with that of the
public school system he runs, saying both were in the service of the
“I want to bring my perspective as the CEO of a $5 billion
school system to engage Harvard more broadly in the challenge of
improving urban education—simultaneously strengthening both the
institution and the nation,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Sandra M. Faber is one of two academics running for a
position. She earned her PhD in astronomy in 1972 and is currently a
professor of that subject at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Faber wrote in an e-mail that her job as a faculty member
from a public university would bring a unique point of view to the
Board. She also cited her experience as a scientist as an important
perspective she could contribute.
“Participation in one or more astronomical facilities is
under discussion [at Harvard], and I can bring first-hand knowledge
from the astronomical community on this issue,” she wrote.
Robert N. Shapiro ’72, who is also a 1978 graduate of HLS, is a
lawyer at Boston-based law firm Ropes and Gray and a past president of
HAA and the Harvard Law School Association.
He also noted that meeting applicants for the
Harvard-Cambridge Scholarships committee, which he has helped lead for
25 years, “has kept me in contact with current students and given me a
keen awareness of life at Harvard College.”
This spring’s candidates also include Henry W. McGee III, a
1974 graduate of Harvard Business School (HBS) and the current
president of HBO Video, and Ann Moore, a 1978 graduate of HBS who has
served as chairman and CEO of Time, Inc. since July 2002. Moore has
been listed as one of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women.”
Also running is Leila T. Fawaz, who earned her AM and PhD at
Harvard in ’72 and ’79, respectively. Fawaz is currently a professor of
history and diplomacy at Tufts University.
The remaining candidate is Emily Pulitzer, who earned her AM
in 1963 and is president of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St.
Ballots must be received by June 2, and the new overseers will be announced at this year’s commencement exercises on June 8.