Winning as a sophomore, she said, raises expectations for next year.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do now,” she said.
Though Counter said he credits the students, the evening also honored several Faculty members, including Lewis and the masters of Winthrop, Currier and Cabot Houses, who are all stepping down at the end of the academic year.
Winthrop House Master Paul D. Hanson, upon receiving a bouquet of red roses, said, “I feel like an opera singer.”
Counter said the Foundation recognizes the masters because without buildings on campus set aside to promote different cultures, the Houses play an essential role in promoting multiculturalism.
“We believe that every building at Harvard is a multicultural center,” he said.
Hanson said he appreciated the honors given to himself and to his fellow masters but felt that the “spotlight” was, appropriately, on Dean Lewis.
“Allen Counter is remarkably caring and sensitive so he acknowledges us, but I think the high point tonight was Harry Lewis,” Hanson said. “He received a genuine tribute that he was very much deserving of.”
Hanson, who received much criticism earlier this year for his support of a petition to divest from Israel, said he took “great comfort” in Lewis’s support of free speech.
“I think that the position I took was one that was totally supported by the spirit of the evening, that we are a community with diverse points of view that are enriched by the differences among us,” Hanson said. “I felt that my experience in the past year took a lot of encouragement from Dean Lewis’s words because he really described my philosophy of a University that is predicated both on constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and the sacred responsibility that we all have in maintaining academic freedom.”
Lewis made light of the impending end of his tenure as dean of the College.
Stepping down, he said, will allow him to be “politically incorrect” by showing favoritism to his former home as an undergraduate.
“As dean I have to love all Houses equally, but as ‘Professor Lewis,’ I can go back to saying the truth, which is that Quincy is the best house,” he said.
Lewis added that he has enjoyed rubbing elbows with the celebrity hosts of the annual Cultural Rhythms show, which have included Queen Latifah, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington. Seeing the movies those actors have starred in will be “a good project for my newfound free time,” he said.
Returning to a more serious note, Lewis praised the Foundation and its efforts to promote diversity.
“It’s a great institution that has provided me with many memorable moments,” he said.