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Judith R. Hope
Students don't know a lot about Corporation member Judith R. Hope, but colleagues say Hope knows a lot about students.
And as the presidential search committee starts setting priorities for Harvard's next chief executive, Hope, 49, stands out as one of the few who has spoken of an interest in College life.
"I think one of the greatest things Judith Hope brings is that she really understands the undergraduate perspective," says one faculty member, who asked not to be identified. "You really want to know there are people on the search who understand undergraduates."
Of course, Hope--who was the first woman ever appointed to Harvard's chief governing board--is more well-known for her work in Washington, where she has maintained strong ties to the national Republican party.
Although she is often described as a political moderate, Hope started working with the Republican party when she served as domestic policy adviser to President Gerald R. Ford. In 1984, Hope co-chaired Lawyers for Reagan/Bush, and four years later, she advised the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kans.).
When not advising politicians, Hope has made a name for herself as one of the nation's most well-known transporation lawyers. She is now a senior partner with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker, a Washington-based firm, and works in the company's Los Angeles office.
Hope has also maintained a few ties to academia over the years: she was once a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and has served as an adjunct professor of law at both Georgetown and Pepperdine universities.
But Hope has another link to this institution that makes her unique among Corporation Fellows: she is the only Corporation member who can claim two current Harvard undergraduates among her dependents.
Because Hope is a relative newcomer to the world of University policy-making--she was appointed to the Corporation two years ago--many are still uncertain about what role she will play in the presidential selection process. But those who know Hope's work outside Harvard say she will definitely have a say.
"I've never heard her raise her voice or need to," says Ann D. Goldblatt '61, a law school roommate who has kept in touch with Hope over the years. "She's soft-spoken but doesn't hesitate when she has something to say."
Hope received her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in 1961, and her law degree from Harvard in 1964. Hope is the daughter-in-law of comedian Bob Hope.
Wesley Williams '63
Although his mind may often be occupied by arcane details of the banking industry, Wesley S. Williams, Jr. '63 says his heart belongs to two less commercial institutions, the Episcopal Church and Harvard University.
During the day, Williams, an attorney specializing in the law of financial institutions, is a partner at Covington and Burling, one of Washington's largest and most prestigious firms.
But Williams, a member of the Board of Overseers and the only Black on the presidential search committee, calls himself a "classic Harvard devotee." He has expressed particular concern with the University's education and science programs.
"If there's a single area where my interest probably makes me stick out a bit from the rest," he says, "I tend to be sort of a beacon of interest and devotion to the Divinity School.
Williams is an active member in the capital's Episcopalian community. He has held high posts in the Protestant Episcopal diocese and served as a trustee of the Washington National Cathedral, among other organizations.
"Church matters have long been ones of great concern to me," he says. "Church is the sacred moment for the Williams family."
He is also involved in several Washington-area human service organizations. A member of the executive committee of the Washington chapter of Lawyers for Civil Rights Under Law, Williams does pro bono work in civil rights law. He is also a trustee of Family and Child Services of Washington.
Williams is characterized by colleagues as intellectual and humane. Some mention that at Overseers' meetings he is prone to making long-winded but heartfelt speeches.
Williams received an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1964, a law degree from Harvard in 1967 and an L.L.M. from Columbia University in 1969.
Professor of Law Lance M. Liebman, who was Williams' classmate at Harvard Law School, said Williams was a "very well known member" of their class.
Calling Williams "one of the most prominent lawyers in the U.S.," Liebman says, "He is a very savvy person, with a major interest in Harvard."
Williams is the author of A Practical Guide to FIRREA: The Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (1989), which dealt with the laws governing the savings and loan bailout.
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