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Farrell, Ferreras To Serve As Leverett Faculty Deans

The Leverett House Towers.
The Leverett House Towers. By Amy Y. Li
By Caroline S. Engelmayer, Crimson Staff Writer

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Professor Brian D. Farrell and Irina P. Ferreras will serve as faculty deans for Leverett House starting next year, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced in an email to students Wednesday.

Farrell and Ferrerras will take over from outgoing Faculty Deans Howard M. Georgi ’68 and Ann B. Georgi—affectionately known as “Chief” and “Coach”—who have held the position for 20 years.

Khurana wrote in the email announcement he thinks Farrell and Ferreras will be excellent faculty deans.

“Brian and Irina both bring to the role a deep commitment to education, research and community building that will make them a terrific addition to Leverett House and Harvard’s residential community,” he wrote.

The Georgis announced in late August they would step down from their positions as Leverett House Faculty Deans at the end of this semester.

In an emailed statement provided by spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman, Farrell and Ferreras wrote they are “absolutely thrilled” to be Leverett’s next Faculty Deans.

“We're excited to share our passions and we look forward to working closely with the students, tutors and staff,” the two wrote. “The Georgis’ shoes will be hard to fill, but we are ready and eager for the challenge and our communal adventure ahead!”

Farrell and Ferreras will bring to the job years of experience in the Harvard community. Farrell has been an OEB professor since 1995 and teaches “OEB 10: Foundations of Biological Diversity,” an introductory biology course offered in the fall. His field of study centers on the coevolution of insects and plants and, in particular, on the biology of beetles. Farrell also serves as the Curator of Entomology and Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard.

Ferreras has served as a curatorial assistant in the Harvard University Herbaria for 20 years, where she studies orchids. She and Farrell offer a Summer School Study Abroad program in the Dominican Republic, where Ferreras was born and raised, and have led several Harvard Alumni Association trips to Latin America and Tanzania.

Farrell and Ferreras have a daughter who graduated from the College in 2016 and a son who was recently accepted into the Class of 2022.

In the email announcement sent by Khurana Wednesday morning, Freshman Dean Thomas A. Dingman ’67 wrote Leverett House would benefit from Farrell and Ferreras’s leadership.

“Leverett House will flourish under the leadership of Brian and Irina,” he wrote. “Their warmth, experience leading a summer school program in the Dominican Republic, and special interests involving music and the natural world make them ideally suited for these important roles.”

Farrell is an avid jazz drummer and both new faculty deans are “enthusiastic” about gardening and nature, Khurana wrote.

During the Georgis’ tenure as Leverett faculty deans, the two developed new signature House traditions, including serving “monkey bread” in the faculty dean residence and holding Wednesday’s Physics Night during Brain Break, the College’s late-night snack service.

Khurana wrote in the emailed announcement he is “so grateful” to the Georgis.

“Both have worked tirelessly to foster a close-knit and inclusive community in Leverett House, and we were so fortunate to have them as Faculty Deans for the past 20 years,” he wrote.

—Staff writer Caroline S. Engelmayer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cengelmayer13.

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