Brown and Rosenthal Tapped for Top Harvard Overseer Roles

Overseers Announcement
Loeb House is the location of functions for Harvard alumni and administrators.

Michael H. Brown ’83 and Lesley F. Rosenthal ’86 have been elected the next president and vice chair of the Board of Overseers, Harvard’s second-highest governing body, the University announced Thursday.

Brown and Rosenthal have both served on the Board of Overseers since 2014. They will succeed current Overseer president Susan L. Carney ’73 and Vice Chair Gwill E. York ’79.

The Board of Overseers’ responsibilities include advising top Harvard administrators, providing input on decisions about the direction of the University, and approving certain actions by the University’s highest governing body, the Harvard Corporation. The Board, comprised of alumni who serve six-year terms on the board, are elected by fellow alumni via mail-in ballot each spring. Brown and Rosenthal will serve in their respective leadership roles for the final year of their terms.

University President Lawrence S. Bacow praised Brown and Rosenthal in a press release for their work as Overseers and said he is “delighted” to continue working with them in their new leadership roles.


“Our Board of Overseers plays a vital role in assuring Harvard’s constant commitment to the ideals of truth, excellence, and opportunity,” Bacow said. “Michael Brown and Lesley Rosenthal embody the leadership and dedication that our Overseers bring to the work of the governing boards, and I’m both grateful to them for their service and delighted at the prospect of working even more closely with them next year.”

As an Overseer, Brown chaired the board’s standing committee on social sciences and has served on a number of the board’s committees including the executive, institutional policy, schools, College, and continuing education groups. He has also served on the visiting committees for the Government and Sociology departments.

Brown — the founder of the education nonprofit City Year — worked as a legislative assistant for Leon E. Panetta during his time in the House of Representatives. He also served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer while he was a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston prior to transitioning to nonprofit work.

Brown said in the press release that he is “honored” by his appointment.

“Harvard has played a transformational role in my life, and I am forever grateful,” Brown said. “It’s a privilege to serve this remarkable University, with Lesley Rosenthal and our dedicated fellow Overseers, under President Bacow’s inspired leadership, and alongside the members of the Corporation, administration, faculty, students, and alumni, to support Harvard’s vital mission to advance scholarship, learning, and leadership development.”

Rosenthal — who serves as the chief operating officer and corporate secretary of the Juilliard School — previously served as executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary over 13 years at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

In her role as an Overseer, Rosenthal chairs the standing committee on humanities and arts in addition to serving on the board’s executive committee; committees on finance, administration, and management; and the governing board’s joint inspection committee. She also is a member of the visiting committees for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Graduate School of Design, and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.

“It has been exciting to see the University’s progress during my years on the board, including in critical areas such as the arts and humanities as well as inclusion and belonging,” Rosenthal said. “I’m grateful to work alongside Michael Brown and my other terrific colleagues to serve Harvard and help refine and advance its priorities.