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Harvard Names New Overseers, Including Three Harvard Forward-Backed Candidates

Massachusetts Hall, an administrative building, is located in Harvard Yard.
Massachusetts Hall, an administrative building, is located in Harvard Yard. By Megan M. Ross
By Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard alumni elected five new members to the Board of Overseers — the University’s second-highest governing body — including four Black alumni and three candidates supported by the young alumni representation campaign Harvard Forward.

The five incoming Overseers include President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael William Bostic ’87, Princeton University Professor and 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith ’94, professional soccer player Margaret “Midge” Purce ’17, Environment Protection Agency Program Analyst Jayson U. Toweh, and Civil Rights Corps Policy Counsel Dorothy “Thea” L. Sebastian ’08. Purce, Toweh, and Sebastian were supported by Harvard Forward.

The Board of Overseers is responsible for advising University administrators and approving certain actions taken by Harvard’s highest governing body, the Harvard Corporation. Elected directors of the Harvard Alumni Association serve as representatives for Harvard alumni across the University's schools.

Harvard Forward launched last year in a bid to increase recent alumni representation and support for fossil fuel divestment among the Overseers. In the months since, the group has hosted events around the world and maintained an active social media presence, energizing an election process that often passes without incident.

Board of Overseers President R. Martin Chávez ’85 wrote in a press release that the new Overseers will join the board as Harvard faces challenges with little precedent in the University’s centuries-long history.

“All of us on the Board welcome this year’s new Overseers,” Chávez said. “These are extraordinary times, posing extraordinary challenges, and the Board will do all we can to help Harvard navigate them as thoughtfully as possible, always with an overriding concern for the best interests of the University and how it can best serve the world.”

Alumni also elected several incoming HAA directors — including Santiago Creuheras, Kelsey Trey Leonard ’10, Michael D. Lewis ’93, Mallika J. Marshall ’92, Benjamin D. Wei ’08, and Joyce Y. Zhang ’09.

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

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