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Harvard Forward Endorses Alumni Association Board Candidates

Overseers campaign Harvard Forward endorsed nominees for the Harvard Alumni Assocation board this week.
Overseers campaign Harvard Forward endorsed nominees for the Harvard Alumni Assocation board this week. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Michelle G. Kurilla and Ruoqi Zhang, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Forward — an alumni organization advocating for the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry — endorsed six candidates vying to become Harvard Alumni Association Elected Directors.

With new members elected annually in spring, HAA’s board of directors is an advisory board that seeks to develop alumni volunteer leadership and deepen engagement with alumni worldwide. HAA is also responsible for nominating candidates for Harvard’s annual election for the Board of Overseers — the University’s second-highest governing board.

This spring, nine candidates are running for six available director slots. The HAA elected director candidates endorsed by Harvard Forward include Santiago Creuheras, Kelsey T. Leonard ’10, Michael D. Lewis ’93, Benjamin D. Wei ’08, Joyce Y. Zhang ’09, and Vanessa M. Zoltan. All of the candidates support “Harvard Forward’s platform of climate action, socially responsible investment, and inclusive governance,” according to a Harvard Forward press release.

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard — an alumni group centered on increasing diversity at the University — also recently endorsed Leonard, Creuheras, Lewis, Zhang, and Zoltan.

Harvard Forward has also been running a campaign to elect a slate of five candidates to Harvard’s Board of Overseers. Earlier this spring, the group gathered signatures from roughly 4,500 alumni and successfully petitioned for its candidates to be put on the ballot.

According to the press release, Harvard Forward’s Board of Overseer candidates and the endorsed HAA elected director candidates together hold Harvard degrees from six of the University’s 12 degree-granting schools.

John E. Beatty ’11, one of Harvard Forward’s Board of Overseer candidates, wrote in the press release that, because elections for HAA Elected Directors and the Board of Overseers occur simultaneously, the group feels it “makes sense to collaborate” across the different elections.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to create a mandate to take action on these issues, and the best way to do so is by electing alumni who vocally support our platform to Harvard’s two highest elected boards,” Beatty wrote.

Harvard Forward Candidate Margaret “Midge” M. Purce ’17 wrote in the press release that the candidates are “fully committed” to the campaign’s mission.

“These candidates are fully committed to Harvard Forward’s mission, and we’re delighted to have them on our side,” Purce wrote. “The fact that a majority of HAA-nominated candidates agree with every point on our platform truly speaks to the broad support among the alumni community for more inclusive governance and bolder climate action.”

This year’s elections are scheduled to take place from April 1 to May 19. All Harvard alumni can vote either online or by traditional paper ballot — except those in University instruction and governance positions as well as members of the Harvard Corporation, who are ineligible to vote.

—Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

—Staff writer Ruoqi Zhang can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RuoqiZhang3.

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