When Leonard asked Faust about her legacy, she said she hoped that people would look back on Harvard as having “sailed through these stormy seas” while maintaining its values, such as inclusiveness and broad intellectual inquiry.
In an interview with The Crimson on Monday, Faust said she wanted to put forth a “realistic and somewhat sober picture of higher education” in her speech, “with a hope of communicating to the faculty, staff, and students at Harvard how our responsibility must be focused on making choices in this environment and not simply letting the environment happen to us.”
That environment, Faust explained in both the interview and her speech, is unprecedented in countless ways.
“I think higher education is being transformed more rapidly than certainly any time in my lifetime, and perhaps as rapidly as it has ever been asked to change in all of its existence,” she told The Crimson on Monday.
With less than two weeks before the public launch of The Harvard Campaign, which is expected to set fundraising records, Faust painted Tuesday’s speech as partially an attempt to explain the Campaign’s context.
“The Campaign is an important element as a response and way of dealing with these issues—but it is only one element,” she said.
After Faust’s speech and discussion, a celebration on the Science Center plaza included song and dance performances, as well as food-truck samples and other refreshments. After Faust nearly filled Sanders Theater, the prospect of free food packed the plaza, drawing hundreds of speechgoers and non-speechgoers alike.
—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at Nikita.Kansra@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @NikitaKansra.
—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at Weinstock@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @syweinstock.