Harvard Alumni Join National Fiscal Committee

Two Harvard alumni appointed to 18-member bipartisan committee

President Barack Obama has appointed two Harvard alumni as members of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to devise ways to balance the federal budget.

Alice M. Rivlin, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1958, and Ann M. Fudge, who graduated from Harvard Business School in 1977, are among the six nonpartisan members on the 18-member committee that will propose long-term fiscal solutions to Congress by Dec. 1.

Rivlin brings significant budgetary experience and knowledge of federal policymaking to the commission. In addition to acting as the first director of the Congressional Budget Office under President Jimmy Carter, Rivlin served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.

Rivlin is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange.

In an e-mailed statement, Economics Professor N. Gregory Mankiw praised Rivlin—whom he said he knew well—as an “excellent choice” for the position.


“As a long-time director of the Congressional Budget Office, she fully appreciates the enormity of the fiscal challenges ahead,” Mankiw said.

Rivlin declined to comment for this article and wrote in an e-mailed statement that it was “too soon” to speak to the press.

Fudge, in contrast, has come to prominence through the corporate world. Named by a 2003 issue of Fortune Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business, Fudge served as chairman and CEO of marketing giant Young & Rubicam Brands from 2003 to 2006 and has held presidencies at both General Mills and General Foods.

She is also a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing body.

Fudge could not be reached for comment this weekend.

Led by former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the committee will aim to balance the national primary budget, excluding interest payments, by 2015.

“I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that the American people deserve and America’s future demands,” said Obama in a White House press release.

David Cote, chairman, CEO, and president of technology company Honeywell, and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, were also nominated by Obama on Friday to serve on the commission.