Harvard College Says Farewell to Dean McLoughlin

Nearly 100 members of the Harvard community gathered in the Queen’s Head Pub last night to give their thanks to former Associate Dean Paul J. McLoughlin II, who announced his resignation this summer.

McLoughlin, 36, became the College’s youngest administrator after Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds appointed him as her associate dean and senior advisor in 2008.

The event, attended by students, faculty, and administrators, filled the Pub, which was decorated with pictures of McLoughlin’s time at Harvard. McLoughlin received praise in speeches delivered by Dean of Freshmen Thomas M. Dingman ’67, Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson, and Hammonds.

“He made many of us aware of student development and brought an extremely creative look to new projects,” Dingman said.

The speakers recalled moments from McLoughlin’s time at the College, where he rose from a freshman proctor to an associate dean.

McLoughlin helped coordinate a number of projects aimed at improving student life during his time at Harvard, including the construction of the Student Organization Center at Hilles in 2006. He also helped coordinate Optional Winter Activities Week last year.

Some of the projects have faced criticism over the years, but administrators celebrated the high points on Thursday evening.

In addition to his administrative role, McLoughlin also served as a mentor to students, especially in the BGLTQ community, Dingman said.

Nelson said prior to McLoughlin’s arrival, the College did not offer as many events for students, pointing to the pep rallies, picnics, and other campus-wide events organized while McLoughlin served as dean.

“He always talked to students and saw the possibilities instead of starting with the limitations,” Nelson said.

He and Hammonds developed a close friendship, and McLoughlin frequently shared fashion tips with her, including planning an outfit for the last Harvard-Yale game.

Deans said that McLoughlin consistently prioritized the needs of students.

“He would always say, ‘The students can do this. The students can do that. The students can do everything,’” Hammonds said.

McLoughlin will be teaching graduate students at Boston College, where he recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation. His position at Harvard was only his second professional job.

“This is an incredible place to grow, to learn, and to be challenged. I’ve been so fortunate to have these experiences,” McLoughlin said.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at