Harvard Deans Congratulate New Boss

President-elect Lawrence S. Bacow.

Soon after the announcement that Lawrence S. Bacow would be Harvard’s next president, congratulations started pouring in from deans of schools across the University. From community messages to personal statements, Harvard’s deans eagerly expressed their enthusiasm about their new boss.

John F. Manning ’82, the dean of the Law School, took pride in the fact that Bacow was an alumnus of his school, and complimented his “superb judgment” in a statement Sunday. He wrote that he was often directed to Bacow for advice when he first took on the Law School deanship last year.

“When I became dean, one of the most frequent pieces of advice I got from fellow deans was, ‘You need to meet Larry Bacow; he has terrific insights about how to lead a school.’ They were right,” Manning wrote in an emailed statement. “He is a proven leader in stimulating the kinds of collaboration and innovation that can make a great school even better. I am proud that he is our alumnus.”

Douglas W. Elmendorf, the dean of the Kennedy School—from which Bacow received a master's in public policy and a Ph.D.—discussed the president-elect’s connections to his school in an email to HKS affiliates Sunday.


“Larry is deeply committed to our mission, and his experiences at the Kennedy School clearly mean a great deal to him,” Elmendorf wrote. “I was so pleased when he made time in his schedule to attend the festivities opening our transformed campus, and when I talked with him this afternoon, he said that in his introductory press conference today he referred to his experience as a student at the Kennedy School.”

Even those deans who cannot count Bacow among their alumni still found plenty of praise to bestow on the University's next leader. George Q. Daley ’82, the dean of the Medical School, highlighted Bacow’s career and focus on the sciences.

“I have deep respect and great admiration for the substantial contributions Larry has made over the course of his remarkable career, both as an economist and as a leader of some of our finest academic institutions,” Daley wrote in an emailed statement. “Larry has a vast knowledge of the Harvard culture and tremendous respect for the life sciences, attributes that will serve Harvard University and Harvard Medical School well in the years to come.”

Others, including Michelle A. Williams, the dean of the School of Public Health, wrote in an email to school affiliates that Bacow was especially qualified to take on the challenges facing higher education today.

“I am confident that Larry will be a remarkable leader in the midst of these challenging times for higher education. He will be a champion of Harvard’s engagement in local and global communities,” she wrote.

William F. Lee ’72, a member of the presidential search committee and senior fellow of the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, said at the press conference announcing Bacow’s selection that his familiarity with Harvard and higher education was a significant factor in Bacow’s appointment.

“We wanted someone who could hit the ground running because neither we nor higher education have time to spare,” Lee said.

—Staff writers Alexandra A. Chaidez, Aidan F. Ryan, and Luke W. Vrotsos contributed reporting

—Staff writer Jamie D. Halper can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jamiedhalper

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