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Board of Overseers Selects President

By Andrew J. Miller, Crimson Staff Writer

Richard E. Oldenburg `54 has been elected President of the Board of Overseers for the 2001-02 school year.

The director emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Oldenburg recently served on the search committee that selected Lawrence H. Summers to fill the post being vacated by University President Neil L. Rudenstine in July.

Oldenburg, who was elected at the March meeting, will assume his post after Commencement. He will succeed Sharon E. Gagnon as the head of Harvard's second-oldest governing body just as Summers prepares to move into Mass. Hall.

"I feel most honored to have the privilege to serve as president of the Board, especially during a year when we will welcome a new president of the University," Oldenburg said in a statement.

Rudenstine also noted that Oldenburg's term, coinciding with Summers' first year, is of particular importance.

"In what will be an important year of transition for Harvard, I am sure that Dick will lead the Overseers with a discerning eye, a steady hand and a strong commitment to the university as a place of learning and of culture," he said in a statement. "Dick Oldenburg is both a leading figure in the world of arts and culture and an admired alumnus who has served the Board of Overseers with great devotion and wisdom."

First elected to the Board of Overseers in 1996, Oldenburg has served on many of its committees, including the executive committee, the ad hoc committee on women undergraduates and the committee on humanities and arts, of which he is the chair.

Oldenburg said the Overseers would likely focus on undergraduate education during the following year.

"There are certain things that are very important concerns to the overseers, and undergraduate education is one of those," he said in an interview.

Oldenburg also said the overseers would likely discuss faculty recruitment, potential uses for the University's land in Allston and other major issues facing the University.

"You try to set the agenda with the best advice you can," he said, noting that he will also be responsible for committee appointments.

Overseer C. Dixon Spangler Jr., who works with Oldenburg on the executive committee, said Oldenburg will make a good president.

"Oldenburg will be good. He's capable. He'll handle it well for his period of time," Spangler said in an interview.

Oldenburg's term as president--as well as his term as an Overseer--ends at Commencement 2002.

Oldenburg is a former Crimson executive, and has received the Legion d'Honneur of France, the Order of the North Star of Sweden and the Order of Isabel la Católica of Spain. He is also the honorary chair of Sotheby's North and South America.

--Staff writer Andrew J. Miller can be reached at

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