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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

University People

March-April 2018

Tamara Elliott Rogers
Photograph by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Tamara Elliott Rogers
Photograph by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Development Leader to Depart

With the Harvard Campaign headed for a record finish as of June 30, the same day Drew Faust’s presidency concludes, Tamara Elliott Rogers ’74 has made public her plan to step down as vice president for alumni affairs and development at the end of 2018—time enough to wind up the fundraising drive, thank its tens of thousands of supporters and volunteers, and effect a transition to the University’s new president. Her Harvard service began in 1976. Read a full report at

Decanal Departures

When the new freshmen arrive, they will find a new dean of undergraduate education; Wolfson professor of Jewish studies Jay M. Harris, former head of Cabot House, is relinquishing the post at the end of the academic year, concluding a decade of service engaged in matters ranging from the General Education curriculum and the introduction of the academic honor code to a new class schedule (to accommodate courses held in Allston, beginning in the fall of 2020) and proposed changes in advanced standing (see “Overhauling Advanced Standing”).…Separately, Mallinckrodt professor of geophysics Jeremy Bloxham, who is dean of science within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), will complete his service in that role. College and FAS deans Rakesh Khurana and Michael D. Smith, respectively, have begun searches for successors.

Colson Whitehead
Photograph by Michael Lionstar

Artist Honored

Novelist Colson Whitehead ’91, author of the acclaimed The Underground Railroad, has been named the Arts First honorand; he will be recognized in a ceremony on April 26. He was profiled in “A Literary Chameleon” (September-October 2016, page 32). Two other novelists have received the arts medal: John Updike ’54, Litt.D. ’92, and Margaret Atwood, A.M. ’62, Litt.D. ’04.

Peter Bol
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/HPAC

Online Update

Carswell professor of East Asian languages and civilizations Peter K. Bol, who in 2013 was appointed the initial vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL; background on his digital expertise appears here), will conclude his service in that capacity at the end of the summer. He plans to return to his scholarly and teaching commitments full time. The new office assumed responsibility for HarvardX and the Harvard Inititiative for Learning and Teaching, and associated research in the field. Harvard DART (Digital Assets for Reuse in Teaching), created during Bol’s VPAL tenure and recently deployed, enables faculty members to search for HarvardX material and to embed it instantly in their Harvard course websites. A search for his successor will begin soon.

Brain Drain

Margo I. Seltzer ’83, who has taught at the University since 1992 and is now Smith professor of computer science and director of the Center for Research on Computation and Society, is departing for a post at the University of British Columbia. She is one of the first scholars appointed to a Canada 150 Research Chair, a concerted national effort to attract scientific leaders. According to the announcement, Seltzer’s work will be supported by $1 million annually. At Harvard, she was recognized as a leader in computer-systems research, and for championing women in science.

Endowment Evolution

Continuing its restructuring, Harvard Management Company has spun out its real-estate investment team, which is now part of Bain Capital; the staff will continue to manage the endowment’s direct real-estate investments under Bain’s auspices. Meanwhile, more of its investment professionals have relocated to new positions. In January, the New York Public Library announced that Geetanjali Gupta, formerly HMC’s senior vice president of absolute return and public market funds, had been appointed its chief investment officer, responsible for assets of $1.2 billion. And Rich Hill, who came to HMC from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas in 2014 to oversee the critical private-equity portfolio, and has recently been a managing director of the generalist team, is heading south again. He will be deputy chief investment officer of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, which has a Harvard-sized pool of assets: $42 billion.


The Claremont Institute will confer its Statesmanship Award (previously given to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Clarence Thomas, and Senator Ted Cruz, J.D. ’95, among others) on Senator Tom Cotton ’99, J.D. ’02, at its annual dinner this April 14.…Winthrop McCormack ’67, owner and editor in chief of The New Republic (and an incorporator of this magazine) has endowed a professorship of citizenship and self-government at the Harvard Kennedy School; academic dean Archon Fung is the first to hold the chair.…Semma Therapeutics, which seeks to develop a stem-cell therapy for diabetes that could eliminate the need for insulin injections, has attracted investment totaling $114 million during its second round of venture financing. It was founded and is based upon research led by Xander University Professor Doug Melton, who is also faculty dean of Eliot House.

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