Rocker Drake To Be New Fun Czar

Musician follows Corker, Haan in social hot seat; ‘I want a car on stage’

CORRECTION APPENDED

Harvard isn’t usually synonymous with rockin’ out—but the College is hoping a rock musician will help liven up its social scene next academic year.

After graduation and a summer touring with his rock band, Blanks., John T. Drake ’06 will return to Harvard Yard as the College’s Campus Life Fellow during the 2006-2007 academic year, the Office of Activities announced yesterday.

Drake will replace Justin H. Haan ’05 as the College’s next “fun czar.”

Drake will work with the new social programming board, which is in charge of planning college-wide events, to oversee the inauguration of the already-planned Harvard College Pub, the Student Organization Center in Hilles, the Lamont Cafe, and new freshman social space.

Assistant Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II, who oversaw the selection of the “fun czar,” said he was impressed with this year’s applicant pool.

“The quality of applicants for the fellowship were stellar and selecting a Fellow was a difficult task,” he said. “It is wonderful to see so many seniors who are interested in working with student groups to help bring their ideas to reality.”

McLoughlin called the applicant pool “diverse”—five women and members of several ethnic groups applied, he said.

Like McLoughlin, Haan said he was pleased with his successor’s qualifications.

“I’m really excited to have John be the new campus life fellow. We were thoroughly impressed with his ideas and presentation during the application process...it’s comforting to know the campus life fellow position is in good hands,” he said.

Drake—who has managed student events like the Leverett House ’80s Dance and the Junior Class Dance and has served as president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club—has focused his extracurricular activities on the arts ever since participating in the Freshman Arts Program (FAP).

He said his work in the arts has prepared him well for the challenges of being the fun czar.

“If someone says I want a car on stage, for a second you freeze, but then you start thinking of how you can make that happen,” he said, referring to a situation he encountered while producing “Knock,” a French comedy.

“My job in theatre has been to make those ideas happen. Usually the biggest challenges are the most fun.”

With a few of his fellow FAP participants, Drake formed Blanks., a rock band. Eight days after getting together, the group performed Prince’s “When Doves Cry” at the freshman talent show. Drake remains the band’s drummer and manager.

Drake said he thinks that the college has seen a steady growth in social programming events recently, particularly over the last year and a half.

Drake said his job will be slightly different from that of his predecessors, Haan and Zac A Corker ’04, project manager of Loker Commons planning and program development.

“Zac and Haan were creating things that did not exist before; the thing I will do differently is more a factor of the development of these new spaces and events,” Drake said.

“The fun czar doesn’t make fun just for himself. I’m here to make fun for everyone else.”

Drake will assume his post on July 5.

—Staff writer Doris A. Hernandez can be reached at dhernan@fas.harvard.edu.

CORRECTION: The print and original web versions of the headline for this article misstated the name of the new fun czar. He is John T. Drake '06.