The newest member of Harvard’s senior governing board, Patricia A. King, J.D. ’69 (see “Brevia,” January-February, page 69), brings several new perspectives to the Corporation. That is not surprising: her title at Georgetown University Law CenterCarmack Waterhouse professor of law, medicine, ethics, and public policysuggests work at the intersection of several disciplines.
When she joins the Corporation in May, King will be its only member active on a faculty (a profession rarely represented), although fellow member Nannerl O. Keohane, president emerita of Wellesley and Duke, has extensive academic experience. Perhaps atypically of professors, King brings a broad purview of the ways of educational institutions: she has chaired the board of trustees at Wheaton College, her alma mater. And like her predecessor, Conrad K. Harper, J.D. ’65, King has Harvard experience that in part reflects a professional-school education in Cambridge.
Of particular substantive interest, given the University’s large role in biomedical research and life sciences, may be King’s scholarly expertise. Coauthor of a casebook on Law, Science, and Medicine, she has, since joining the Georgetown law faculty in 1974, served on advisory committees and written about a host of fundamental issues ranging from stem cells and the protection of human research subjects to radiation experiments, recombinant DNA, and race and bioethics.
Before entering academia, King held a variety of federal government positions, including service at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Civil Rights at the then Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Department of Justice’s civil division. Her husband, Roger Wilkins, is Robinson professor of history and American culture at George Mason University. He previously served on the editorial boards of the Washington Post, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for Watergate coverage, and the New York Times. The couple, who live in Washington, D.C., have a grown daughter, Elizabeth.