Jessica T. Mathews ’67 and Theodore V. Wells, Jr., have been selected as the newest members of the Harvard Corporation announced Sunday.
The expansion of the Corporation is part of a multi-year restructuring that includes the imposition of term limits and an increase of its membership from seven to 13 members. The Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, is the oldest corporate body in the western hemisphere.
Mathews currently works as the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and previously served on the Board of Trustees at Radcliffe College. Wells co-chairs the litigation department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, a top New York law firm. He holds degrees from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
“We are very pleased to welcome these two distinguished alumni to the Corporation, both of whom will expand our capacity and contribute important and distinctive perspectives to our work,” University President Drew G. Faust and senior fellow of the Corporation Robert D. Reischauer ’63 wrote in a joint statement.
“My perspective on all this is that there’s more positive change at Harvard in the past three or four years than there’s been in the past few decades,” Reischauer said in a phone interview Sunday evening.
According to Reischauer, the Corporation conducted an internal evaluation of its progress in making the structural changes, “just to make sure we weren’t looking in the mirror saying how handsome we were.”
The University announced modifications to Corporation's organizational structure in 2010 in an effort to increase transparency and better align itself with the governing structures of other universities. The Corporation, whose structure has remained the same throughout its 300 year history, says that its expansion will allow the body to draw on a more diverse range of knowledge and experience in making decisions.
Faust and Reischauer said that the expertise of Mathews and Wells will be valuable assets for the University. In a statement, Matthews said she believes that her knowledge of international issues will be helpful to Harvard as education becomes globally-focused.
“The world of education is globalizing, with consequences as profound as those for government and business,” she said. “Having spent more than a decade building a global think tank, I look forward to helping think through this great university’s international role and contributing all I can to the full range of the Corporation’s work.”
In addition to his highly regarded work in corporate law, Wells previously served as the chairman of the board of directors at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He also has been active in politics, working as the national treasurer for Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential run.
“Education opens minds and expands opportunities, and nothing matters more to me,” Wells said in a statement. “I greatly look forward to serving a university that has helped shape my own outlook and aspirations, and to supporting the work of people across Harvard whose ideas and efforts do so much to better the world.”
According to the new rules, Corporation members serve a six-year term with the possibility of a one term extension. The Mathews and Wells appointments will begin with the start of the 2013 calendar year and last six years, with the possibility of a six-year extension.
—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.