PR Chief Quits after 5 Long Years

Stone, who handled Summers’ media crises, will step down in June

Harvard’s Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs Alan J. Stone announced yesterday his plans to step down in June after more than five years in office.

Stone’s departure makes him the first senior Mass. Hall administrator appointed by former University President Lawrence H. Summers to resign since the former president left office this June.

Summers appointed Stone to the post only a few months after becoming president in 2001, and Stone served as a key adviser and confidant to Summers during the president’s tenure.

Stone said he decided to resign in order to allow Harvard’s next president to appoint his own team.

“You know, this is a time of an interim president and it is timely for me therefore to gradually make my exit and give the new president a chance to choose someone for this position,” Stone told The Crimson after the announcement.

In his post as vice president, Stone was responsible for managing the University’s relations with its neighbors, the press, and the government.

He also helped handle the media fallout following the president’s remarks regarding women in science.

“I obviously had a position that required me to manage in part the press that was a response to that remark,” Stone said.

During his tenure, Stone played a critical role as a liaison to the communities of Cambridge and Boston amidst the University’s large-scale construction projects in Cambridge, and development plans for a new campus in Allston.

“Alan Stone more than any other individual is responsible for the dramatic improvement in the university’s relations with the cities of Cambridge and Boston over the last few years,” wrote Summers in an e-mail yesterday. “This is not something we can take for granted in the future.”

Community leaders said Stone was a respectful and effective vice president who worked hard to improve town-gown relations.

“I thought he was a guy you could talk to and approach in plain terms,” said Ray Mellone, chairman of the Allston Civic Association Harvard Task Force.

Cambridge City Councillor Marjorie C. Decker also praised Stone’s work to improve relations with the community.

“I was suspicious of him when I first met him but I actually really came to respect him and appreciate his commitment to working out town-gown issues,” Decker said. “I’m really sorry he’s leaving. I think he’ll be big shoes to fill.”

Colleagues at Harvard also had kind words for the outgoing vice president, emphasizing his approachability and dedication to understanding all sides of an issue.

“He really, really has a genuine interest as a committed advocate for teaching and research,” said Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn, who worked under Stone. “He’s also very respectful which is why so many people seek out his advice.”