New Medical School Dean Talks Improving Capital Campaign, Diversity

Incoming Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 listed improving diversity, supporting the University’s capital campaign, and re-energizing faculty among his principal priorities when he takes charge of the school next month.

As of last week, Daley said in an interview with The Crimson that the school had raised just over $600 million—80 percent of the school’s capital campaign goal. The Medical School had the third highest goal out of Harvard’s individual schools: $750 million.

The new figure marks a roughly $70 million increase since last March, and Daley said the school is “slightly ahead of schedule.”

“I think we’re doing well, but I’m setting my sights on even higher goals in the future,” Daley said, adding that he plans to target the education and service fundraising categories moving forward.

Daley’s appointment came amid a year of activism around diversity and social justice issues at HMS. In February, before Daley’s appointment, the Racial Justice Coalition student group delivered a petition to Massachusetts Hall—where President Drew G. Faust’s office is located—demanding a dean who would address social justice issues.


In September, Daley attended an event at which over a hundred students crafted a “social justice agenda.”

“I continue to be very concerned about the relative lack of full diversity that we have, not just in our students but obviously in our faculty,” Daley said. “I think until our faculty and our student body reflect the diversity that we see in our patients whom we serve, we’re going to have more work to do.”

Daley said student activism around issues of social justice is “one of the things I’m most proud of about our medical students.”

“I’m not only expecting it, I’m celebrating it,” Daley said. “One of the defining features of our medical students is they come to medicine because it’s service-oriented, and that tends to select for a type of student who is in fact dedicated to helping others.”

“I expect them to be activists. I expect them to be holding me to a very high standard,” he added.

Daley said although the current University task force investigating issues of diversity includes Medical School faculty members, he plans to create a new diversity task force specifically for HMS.

“I think the University task force is going to do wonderful things across the entirety of our community, but we have unique issues that pertain to the Medical School,” Daley said. “When people of different colors come into a clinic, the data says that they get treated differently. And we need to understand that, and we need to remedy that.”

Daley added that he will also be taking a closer look at admissions.

“We’re finding that we’re losing some of our most outstanding underrepresented minorities because they’re being offered full scholarships at our peer institutions,” Daley said.

“We need to figure out a way to counterbalance that,” he added. “Think how amazing it would be if every student’s tuition was fully covered by some kind of endowment… but that’s a long term ambition.”

Among his other priorities, Daley said he wants to energize the faculty and continue innovating medical therapeutics. One method of energizing faculty will be to provide seed funding for new ideas, which Daley said he requested and “very generously” received from the University, but declined to disclose the exact sum.

Daley has spent the past few months “evolving” into his new role by engaging with HMS affiliates, from a visit last week to Mount Auburn Hospital, to talking to a security guard in Gordon Hall.

“This is a community where everybody has got to be working toward the greater vision of Harvard Medical School,” Daley said. “Whether they’re people who are running our IT program, serving our food in the cafeterias, or cleaning up the offices at night, I want people to feel part of this mission.”

—Staff writer Leah S. Yared can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Leah_Yared.