Five New Overseers Named

A world-class surgeon, two corporation chiefs, a French literature specialist and a former New York Times executive were named to the University's Board of Overseers on June 8.

Dr. John C. Baldwin '71, Peter C. B. Bynoe '72, Sharon E. Gagnon, John R. Harrison '55 and Lisa M. Henson '82-'83 will begin six-year terms as overseers this year.

The new members were named at the annual Commencement Day meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. More than 33,000 alumni, or 18.1 percent of those holding degrees from the University, cast ballots for up to five candidates.

The Board of Overseers, as one of the University's two governing bodies, is responsible for approving the major decisions of its more powerful counterpart, the Corporation.

The 30 overseers meet at least five times per year, advising the University's president and influencing its long-term policies. The overseers also visit faculties, departments and other programs throughout the University, offer their assessment and give advice on how to improve the quality of teaching and research.


The new overseers have not had a chance yet to meet with University President Neil L. Rudenstine or Overseers President Rey. Theodore M. Hesburgh, three of them said in interviews.

A Diverse, Accomplished Group

Henson, the president of Columbia Pictures, topped the overseer balloting with 20,261 votes.

In her ballot statement, she expressed a desire to support the arts at Harvard. She also hopes to use her unusual perspective to "ask questions that aren't asked every day [and] take an interest in areas of the University that aren't interesting to anyone else."

The daughter of Muppets creator Jim Henson, Henson was the first female president of the Lampoon as an undergraduate.

Baldwin, the second leading vote recipient, is chair of the Department of Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine.

In an interview, Baldwin said he wants to improve Harvard's current practices of integrating international students into University life.

"There may be some element of pockets ofstudents whose ideas and interests may not befully appreciated or experienced by otherstudents," he said. "I ha[ve] the sense of more ofthat sort of separation of groups than I did whenI was an undergraduate."

The University was rocked late last month by amurder-suicide involving an international student.

But the new overseer said he noticed thisproblem long before the tragedy.

Baldwin earned a Harvard A.B. summa cum laudein Anthropology. He won a Rhodes Scholarship,attended Stanford Medical School and has served onthe faculties at Yale and Stanford Universities.

Harrison, known as "Jack," retired two yearsago after 21 years as vice president of The NewYork Times.

He said in an interview that he wants toimprove Harvard's commitment to public service.

"I'd like to explore on the edges some moresocietal things, like studying how to benefitinner-city underprivileged kids," he says.

Harrison has a long and impressive record ofpublic service. He and his wife providescholarships to inner-city students through theirfoundation.

And he is director of Georgia's Cities inSchools, a program educating underprivilegedchildren in the inner cities.

Harrison won a Pulitzer Prize in 1965 for aseries of editorials calling for improvements inminority housing in Gainesville, Florida.

At Harvard, he concentrated in English andparticipated in Phillips Brooks House.

Gagnon, the only new overseer who did notattend Harvard College, is president of theUniversity of Alaska's Board of Regents.

Gagnon said in an interview that she wants toprevent technological advances from swallowing uphuman values and analytical thinking.

"There's a lot that needs to be thatthe traditional values that we have concerninglearning are honored and that education takesplace for the students in view of all theinformation they're going to have at theirdisposal," she says.

Gagnon earned her A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvardin Romance Languages and Literatures.

A French literature specialist, she taught atVanderbilt University and the University of Alaskabefore moving to university administration.

Bynoe is the chair of Telemat Ltd., a sportsmarketing and project management firm.

He is the only new overseer with priorexperience on the board, having been elected to aspecial two-year term in 1993 when South AfricanArchbishop Desmond M. Tutu resigned.

Bynoe said in his ballot statement that theUniversity's primary concerns are financial.

"The key issues facing Harvard today revolvearound money: maintaining an admissions policythat is blind to a candidate's ability to pay, andstrengthening institutional financial integritydespite escalating financial aid, personnel andcapital costs," he said.

Bynoe holds three degrees from Harvard,including an A.B., a J.D. and an MBA. He is formerowner and managing general partner of professionalbasketball's Denver Nuggets