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Corporation To Fill Open Seat After Bacow Assumes Presidency

The Harvard Corporation typically meets at Loeb House seven or eight times each academic year.
The Harvard Corporation typically meets at Loeb House seven or eight times each academic year. By Amy Y. Li
By Kristine E. Guillaume, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Corporation—the University’s highest governing body—will have an open seat on their 13-member board when Lawrence S. Bacow ascends to the Harvard presidency this summer.

The board comprises 12 members and the sitting University president. Bacow will take current Harvard President Drew G. Faust’s place on the Corporation when Faust steps down in June.

Bacow has served on the Corporation since 2011. Along with his fellow Corporation members, he was initially a member of the search committee seeking Faust’s successor. Without public notification, Bacow stepped down from the committee in December and entered the search as a candidate for the 29th University president.

Senior Fellow William F. Lee ’72 referred in an emailed statement to the Corporation’s 2011 governance reforms as direction for the Corporation’s process of selecting a new member to replace Bacow.

“Since adoption of the governance reforms in 2011 and the creation of a new Corporation committee on governance, that committee has had an ongoing process to identify possible nominees for future Corporation appointments,” Lee wrote.

Lee said Corporation has employed the same process to search for replacements on the body “over the past several years.”

In an April 2017 interview, former Corporation member Nannerl O. Keohane said the governance committee works with the Board of Overseers—the University’s second-highest governing body—in this nominating process. A nominee must be voted in by both the Corporation and Board of Overseers to be installed to the Corporation.

“Both bodies have to vote, and, therefore, it’s in principle to include two or three members of the Board of Overseers, so they are part of the nominating process and can suggest names, and can react to possibilities, and ask their colleagues for some names,” Keohane said.

In addition to taking suggestions from the Board of Overseers, the Corporation’s nominating committee also solicits names from faculty and staff to “build a pool” of possible nominees, according to Keohane.

The Corporation employed their committee process in the nominations of billionaire philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and former Princeton University president Shirley M. Tilghman, according to Keohane. Rubenstein and Tilghman were installed as members of the Corporation in July 2017 and Jan. 2016, respectively.

Keohane said having a nominating committee helps the Corporation to “think about the strengths that we need to maintain.”

In the search for Bacow’s replacement, Lee called on Harvard affiliates to nominate individuals or provide advice to the Corporation via emails sent to

—Staff writer Kristine E. Guillaume can be reached at Follow her on twitter @krisguillaume

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