Archon Fung Named Interim Kennedy School Dean

Kennedy School of Government Academic Dean Archon Fung will serve as Acting Dean of HKS starting on July 1, replacing on an interim basis David T. Ellwood ’75.

University President Drew G. Faust announced the move in an email to Kennedy School affiliates on Tuesday. Fung’s interim deanship will mark the end of Ellwood’s 11-year term. Ellwood, who announced his resignation last fall, is currently the longest-serving dean still in office and the only one not appointed by Faust.

Fung, who is one of several HKS faculty part of the committee advising Faust in the search for Ellwood’s long-term successor, has been a professor at the Kennedy School since 1999, conducting research related to direct participation and teaching courses on professional ethics and social change. Fung emphasized that as interim dean his role will be to continue and maintain rather than revise Ellwood’s vision for the school.

“It’s not really appropriate for an acting dean to embark on large new projects that will take a long time — that’s the prerogative of a dean,” Fung said. “And so what I’ll be seeking to do is strengthen the school on those dimensions that are really the mainsprings of the school that everybody thinks are important for the school to do what it does best.”

In addition to preserving the momentum of ongoing projects like the school’s campus expansion, which is already underway, Fung highlighted three priorities for his time as interim dean: maintaining the spirit of public service that is central to the Kennedy School’s mission, supporting the school’s academics and practitioners in cultivating a climate of energy and innovation, and maintaining the professional diversity of HKS faculty and staff.


Fung will lead the school during a critical phase of its capital campaign, which had raised $383 million toward its $500 capital campaign goal as of this February. In an interview then, Ellwood said he expected fundraising to “inevitably slow down” after he steps down, highlighting that philanthropy at the Kennedy School is based on confidence, trust, and long-term relationships, frequently with non-alumni, that could be interrupted by the transition.

“Dean Ellwood is exactly right—one of the main pieces of alumni relations and fundraising and development is long-term relationships with friends of the school who are often friends of the leadership of the school,” acknowledged Fung, who predicted his role in fundraising would be more focused on the “maintenance” of existing relationships. “But those people are also friends of the school as an institution.”

Fung added that the close integration of the Kennedy School administrative team and his role in the search process will ensure a smooth transition this summer.

“One great thing about the Kennedy School administration is that the leadership team is very, very coherent and so the people who report to Dean Ellwood meet very regularly with one another and with Dean Ellwood,” Fung said. “So the transition to me will be less abrupt than that because I’ve been involved in those conversations and will continue to be preparing the road and paving the road for the next dean.”

—Staff writer Luca F. Schroeder can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lucaschroeder.