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UPDATED: September 22, 2014, at 9:16 p.m.
The University’s highest-profile deanship, that of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will be renamed in recognition of the support of donors Paul B. Edgerley and Sandra M. Edgerley ’84.
University President Drew G. Faust told alumni of the change on Saturday at the Assembly, an annual meeting of donors to The Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences, which was closed to the media.
This marks the first time one of Harvard’s deanships has been named and comes just two weeks after the School of Public Health was renamed with a landmark $350 million gift by Gerald L. Chan. The size of the Edgerley gift has not been disclosed.
Michael D. Smith now holds the position of Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Edgerley family’s most recent gift will endow the deanship, providing salary and other administrative costs for the position. Including benefits, Smith earned $554,370 in 2012, the last year for which his salary has been reported.
Dean of the Law School Martha L. Minow holds the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean’s Professorship. But the University still considers the FAS deanship renaming to be the first of its kind given the professorship associated with Minow's chair.
“Paul and Sandy Edgerley have been so very generous with their time and resources in support of the University, and we are deeply grateful for their unwavering commitment,” Faust said in a statement to the Harvard Gazette. “The Edgerley Family Deanship is a fitting recognition of their efforts to help Harvard lead in research and teaching for generations to come.”
In a statement to the Gazette, Smith said he was “deeply grateful to Sandy and Paul for their support of my office and for partnering with me to advance priorities that will positively impact the entire FAS for generations to come.”
Smith could not be reached for comment on Monday. Paul Edgerley could not be reached for comment early Monday afternoon because he is travelling abroad.
The Edgerleys currently serve as co-chairs on a committee for both The Harvard Campaign and the Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences, which leads the FAS portion of the University-wide fundraising effort.
The Harvard Campaign has raised at least $4.3 billion in pledges and donations thus far, which is 66 percent of the $6.5 billion goal. The Campaign for Arts and Sciences is aiming to raise $2.5 billion.
Among other reasons, FAS leaders are looking to the campaign to sure up the body’s finances in the long term. In fiscal year 2013, FAS reported a $3.7 million deficit in its “unrestricted core operations.”
Paul Edgerley currently works as managing director of Bain Capital, a private-equity firm. Sandra Edgerley worked for more than a decade at Bain and Company, and now spends her time in Boston-area philanthropic endeavors.
News of the renaming caught many members of the Faculty of guard, they said, but not completely by surprise. Harvey C. Mansfield ’53, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government, noted that even though FAS deanship renaming is unprecedented, it is common practice to honor donors with nomenclature.
“I don't find it very shocking. After all, the whole university is named after a donor, John Harvard, and I have a professorship that’s named after a donor, as do most professors now,” Mansfield said. “Who are you going to name things after if not wealthy people or famous people?”
Smith, who has held the deanship since 2007, will also retain his endowed title as John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
—Check TheCrimson.com for updates.
—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: September 22, 2014
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Harvey C. Mansfield ’53.
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