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Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley ’82 Endorses Garber for President

George Q. Daley '82, dean of Harvard Medical School, speaks at the 2023 Commencement exercises. Daley endorsed interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber '76 for the permanent presidency.
George Q. Daley '82, dean of Harvard Medical School, speaks at the 2023 Commencement exercises. Daley endorsed interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber '76 for the permanent presidency. By Marina Qu
By Veronica H. Paulus and Akshaya Ravi, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 endorsed interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 to permanently succeed Claudine Gay in a Tuesday interview with The Crimson.

“I hope that Alan will be named the president and have the interim title removed,” Daley said.

The University is facing its worst leadership crisis in decades following former President Claudine Gay’s resignation in January. Garber, Harvard’s longtime provost, became interim president immediately following Gay’s resignation.

Daley is the most high-profile Harvard administrator to weigh in on the University’s 31st presidential search.

His endorsement comes even before Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker ’81 has announced the membership of the presidential search committee. The delay is a stark departure from the last two searches, when search committees were announced within one month.

Daley’s endorsement is particularly notable considering he is a contender for the presidency himself. Daley, however, said that he is committed to serving as dean of the Medical School.

“I am right now inspired and engaged with the job that I have,” Daley said. “I hope I can remain in this role for years to come.”

Daley said that he has a longstanding relationship with Garber, who has a degree from Stanford Medical School.

“Alan has been my closest partner,” Daley said.

“He is the reason that I accepted the position,” he added, referring to his decision to become dean in 2017.

After medical school, Garber completed his residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and remained a clinical fellow at Harvard until 1986. When Garber became provost in 2011, he was also named a professor at HMS and the Harvard School of Public Health.

“He’s someone who has led us for the last more than a decade with great wisdom, judgment, and exceptional leadership,” Daley said. “Alan brings a generosity of spirit to our community that serves our community very, very well.”

Harvard’s new president will inherit a number of issues raised by HMS affiliates over the past year, including allegations of research misconduct at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recent protests regarding the war in Gaza, and ongoing litigation stemming from the mishandling of human remains at the HMS morgue.

In addition to Garber, Daley noted that interim Harvard Provost John F. Manning ’82 — who became dean of Harvard Law School around the same time Daley became dean of HMS — is another strong leader in the University’s administration.

“I was delighted when my college classmate, class of ’82, John Manning, was asked to be the interim provost,” Daley added. “I’ve been very close to John, we’ve enjoyed tremendously getting to know each other and sharing a lot of our experiences as deans of the law school and the medical school.”

“We’ve got really, really sound leadership in Alan Garber and John Manning, and I look forward to working with them for years to come,” he added.

Daley said he believes that the next president should have a strong understanding of science and technology. Garber is the first person to lead the University with a degree in the sciences since James B. Conant, Class of 1914.

“I’ve not been shy for many years in saying that. I think scientific training and scientific expertise is incredibly relevant — especially in today’s world where so much of technology is prominent,” Daley said.

“Many of the challenges that face our planet — whether it’s climate change or an aging population — certainly would benefit from leadership by someone with scientific expertise,” he added.

Daley, however, said the president should understand that science is intertwined with the rest of the University’s academic life.

“Technology has to exist in the embrace of ethics. Science has to be understood in social context,” Daley said. “Whoever is the president has to both respect science and promote it, but also appreciate the context of all this richness.”

—Staff writer Veronica H. Paulus can be reached at Follow her on X @VeronicaHPaulus.

—Staff writer Akshaya Ravi can be reached at Follow her on X @akshayaravi22.

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