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Incoming HAA President West to Take Office July 1

The Harvard Alumni Association will have a leadership turnover next week.
The Harvard Alumni Association will have a leadership turnover next week. By Allison G. Lee
By Camille G. Caldera and Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writers

Incoming Harvard Alumni Association President John J. West Jr. will begin his term as president on July 1.

West — who graduated from the Harvard Business School in 1995 — has previously served on the HAA Board of Directors, the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, and the Memorial Church Advisory Board.

The HAA Board is charged with nominating candidates for the Board of Overseers — the University’s second highest governing body — and holding the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association following Commencement Exercises. It bestows two awards annually, the HAA Award and the Harvard Medal.

The HAA Executive Committee — which consists of its president, four vice presidents, secretary, treasurer, and two at-large members — oversees the HAA Board. West served as the first vice president for the 2019-2020 academic year.

West first introduced himself as the incoming president as part of a video message welcoming the graduating class of 2020 on May 27. He told the Harvard Gazette, a University-run publication, that he believes it is crucial all alumni feel welcome in HAA.

“The relationships we make across the HAA as we connect across our diverse experiences are phenomenal,” he said. “The alumni community is here to support you. If you need help, I guarantee your fellow alumni will be there.”

West told the Gazette that he hopes to help alumni connect online, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Recent graduates have grown up in a world where social media is their platform,” West said. “It changed who they are, how they relate to people, and how they build friendships.”

Alice E. Hill '81, the current HAA president, praised West for his approach to the role.

“John’s warm and inclusive approach will really speak to Harvard alumni who are looking for ways to come together to serve their communities,” Hill told the Gazette.

—Staff writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.

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

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