UPDATED: April 5, 2014, at 12:03 a.m.
The Harvard Alumni Association has named Philip W. Lovejoy as its next executive director, the University announced Thursday. Lovejoy, who has served as the HAA’s deputy executive director since October 2007, will replace John “Jack” P. Reardon ’60, who announced in December that he would step down on July 1.
As executive director, Lovejoy will oversee a staff of more than 40 employees who together coordinate a range of alumni engagement activities, including reunion events during Commencement and the work of Harvard Clubs and other alumni groups worldwide.
Lovejoy, who called his promotion “wicked exciting” in an interview on Friday afternoon, came to Harvard in 1998 as the director of external affairs for the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and made the jump to the HAA in 2004. At the HAA, he has overseen the organization’s travel program and the launch of a branch of HarvardX, called AlumniX, which delivers restricted course content to alumni to promote their engagement.
A graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut, Lovejoy, whose father graduated from the College in 1951, called Harvard a constant presence in his upbringing and “just my ethos.” Lovejoy said that his lack of a Harvard degree has never been a problem in his work at the HAA and that he did not expect it to become an issue in his new role.
“I don’t see it as a problem,” Lovejoy said. “I think my job here is to work with our volunteers, who are the true leaders.” He added that he feels that not having a degree from any one school allows him to articulate a holistic vision of the HAA, which, though sometimes dominated by graduates of Harvard’s most prominent schools, is a University-wide alumni association.
With Harvard’s first University-wide capital campaign since the turn of the century in full swing, Lovejoy said that he is excited to take the reigns of the HAA at a time when alumni engagement is high.
“Its a huge opportunity. We’ve been working for a few years to position the HAA to play a role in the campaign,” he said.
Reardon, who has been at Harvard since 1965 and served as the HAA’s executive director since 1990, will remain involved with University fundraising and Ivy League athletic affairs, hailed Lovejoy’s promotion.
“This is a wonderful appointment,” Reardon said in HAA’s press release. “Philip has done a spectacular job as deputy executive director. He has initiated a number of new programs during his tenure, and he has built excellent relationships with our staff and with our alumni. He brings great personal strengths to this role.”
University President Drew G. Faust echoed Reardon’s optimism.
“Philip will unquestionably build on Jack’s extraordinary stewardship that enables the HAA to convene thousands of alumni to engage and connect,” she said in the release.
—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.