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Journalist Sewell Chan ’98 Elected Chief Marshal of Alumni

Sewell Chan '98, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune and a former Crimson editor, will serve as the chief marshal for the Class of 1998.
Sewell Chan '98, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune and a former Crimson editor, will serve as the chief marshal for the Class of 1998. By Courtesy of Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
By Marina Qu, Crimson Staff Writer

Sewell Chan ’98, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, was elected to serve as this year’s chief marshal for the Class of 1998, according to a Feb. 16 press release.

A tradition that dates back to 1899, the chief marshal of alumni is nominated based on the success of their career and contributions to Harvard and society at large. Once elected, the chief marshal leads the 25th reunion celebration and represents all University alumni at Harvard Alumni Day on June 2.

Many notable alumni have served as chief marshals, including former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Class of 1904; former Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl K. Sandberg ’91; and Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey ’92.

This summer, Chan will lead the alumni parade and join University and alumni leaders in a luncheon at Widener Library.

“I felt very humbled, very appreciative, and very surprised to get this honor,” Chan said.

Prior to leading the Texas Tribune, Chan worked as an editor at the Los Angeles Times. He also reported for the Washington Post and the New York Times earlier in his career.

Chan currently serves on the boards of the Pulitzer Prize, Freedom House, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among numerous other organizations.

Harvard Alumni Association President Allyson Mendenhall ’90 praised Chan’s dedication to “advocating for the power of journalism” and mentoring aspiring journalists in a press release.

“Like the countless Harvard alumni whose impact we see all around us, Sewell has also given back to his profession — as mentor and leader in advancing access of news media to diverse communities,” she added.

Chan has been an active member of the Harvard alumni network. He served on the board of incorporators at Harvard Magazine for more than 15 years and was elected to its board of directors in 2022.

As an undergraduate, Chan was a Crimson editor, covering notable events ranging from the Dunster House murder suicide, the rescindment of a student’s acceptance to the College for the murder of her mother, and food poisoning in the freshman dining hall.

“I learned at The Crimson to be very fast and efficient as a reporter, to collaborate with people, and learn from others — and just to be part of a really exciting journalism community,” Chan said.

Chan said he is excited to see his classmates and other Harvard affiliates at this year’s reunion.

“I’m really glad to serve as a host — someone to welcome all the alumni, someone to be a welcoming face for all my classmates — and to help facilitate good conversations around life and around where we are in life, where our society is, what are our hopes and dreams for ourselves and for our children,” he said.

—Staff writer Marina Qu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MingyiQu.

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