Group of degree candidates from the Design School pose on the steps of Widener for an unofficial Class Day photo.
Photograph courtesy of Jessica Lim

Class Day Creativity

On Wednesday afternoon, May 27, M.Arch. candidates from the Design School who were still in town arranged themselves on the (otherwise deserted) Widener steps for an impromptu class photo (above): the first with social-distancing strictly observed, and everyone properly face-masked. The idea was Jessica Lim’s (front and center, in green).


Overseers’ Leaders

R. Martin Chávez ’85, S.M. ’85, has been elected president of the Board of Overseers for the 2020-2021 academic year, and Beth Karlan ’78, M.D. ’82, will serve as vice chair of the executive committee. Chávez, a computer scientist, served as co-head of the securities division, chief financial officer, and chief information officer of Goldman Sachs, where he remains a senior director. Karlan is professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, and directs the cancer population genetics program at the university’s cancer center. They succeed Michael Brown ’83, J.D. ’88, and Lesley Friedman Rosenthal ’86, J.D. ’89, respectively.


Dental Dean

William V. Giannobile, D.M.Sc.-S.D.M. ’96, has been appointed dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, succeeding Bruce Donoff, who concluded 28 years of service at the end of 2019. The new dean, an expert in periodontology and oral regenerative medicine, returns to Longwood September 1 from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, where he has been Najjar Endowed Professor. Read more at


Design Dean’s “Step Back”

Graduate School of Design dean Sarah Whiting, at her post only since last July, told her colleagues that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her April 6 message to the community said that she would take “a partial step back” from daily responsibilities to begin treatment, with professor of urban design and planning Rahul Mehrotra serving as dean designate and professor of landscape architecture Niall Kirkwood continuing as associate dean for academic affairs. Details are available at


Athletics Director

Erin McDermott has been appointed Nichols Family director of athletics, effective July 1, succeeding Robert A. Scalise, who had announced his retirement after 19 years in the position. McDermott, who was captain of the women’s basketball team at Hofstra, has previously held sports-management positions at Columbia, Princeton (where she was deputy director of athletics), and, most recently, at the University of Chicago, where she was director of athletics and recreation, overseeing 20 intercollegiate sports and more than 40 club sports. For further information, see


Humanities Transition

Porter professor of Medieval Latin Jan Ziolkowski, who has served as director of Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C., since 2007, will step down on July 1, and will serve as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Thomas B.F. Cummins, Dumbarton Oaks professor of the history of Pre-Columbian and colonial art, will serve as interim director. During Ziolkowski’s tenure, Dumbarton Oaks undertook significant physical renovations to accommodate and house its academic fellows and interns, enabling it to increase the number of fellows by 25 percent—at a time when humanities positions have dwindled nationwide. He also established undergraduate and graduate residencies and internships, built ties to local public schools, enhanced access to the collections, and launched the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, now numbering more than 60 volumes (see “Mysteries and Masterpieces,” January-February 2012, page 48).


Economist’s Global Reach

Zombanakis professor of the international financial system Carmen M. Reinhart, who joined the Kennedy School faculty in 2012, has been appointed chief economist of the World Bank, effective June 15. She assumes the post at a time of unprecedented turmoil in parts of the global financial system, and of worldwide recession stemming from the coronavirus pandemic—with especially dire threats to developing nations. She is best known to the public as coauthor, with Cabot professor of public policy Kenneth S. Rogoff, of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (see “Dealing with Debt,” July-August 2015, page 10).


Acclaimed garden

During National Public Gardens Week, in May, the U.S. Postal Service released an American Gardens series of stamps, featuring Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard’s Washington, D.C., center for Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and garden and landscape studies (see “Home of the Humanities,” May-June 2008, page 48). Other featured gardens include those at the Biltmore Estate, at Winterthur, and at The Huntington. 


Sexual-Misconduct Rules

The U.S. Department of Education in May promulgated new regulations governing how colleges handle sexual-assault and -harassment allegations. The regulations narrow the scope of complaints that must be investigated; require that live hearings be held; and allow cross-examination during adjudication of complaints. Proponents say the new regimen restores fairness to a process that has unfairly disadvantaged those accused of sexual misconduct; critics say that it will discourage victims from registering complaints. The rules take effect August 14. In a statement, President Lawrence S. Bacow noted that during the rulemaking process, Harvard, through higher-education associations, had commented on “various aspects of the proposed changes, including areas that we believed might limit our ability to provide a safe and welcoming environment on our campus.” Now, he said, the University would “explore any changes needed to adhere to current federal and state law.”


National Academicians

Eight faculty members have been elected members of the National Academy of Sciences: Dennis Gaitsgory, Smith professor of mathematics; Joel F. Habener, professor of medicine; Michael Kremer, Gates professor of developing societies (who shared the Nobel honor for economics last year); Judy Lieberman, professor of pediatrics; Margaret S. Livingstone, Takeda professor of neurobiology; Olivier Pourquié, Mallory professor of pathology; Wilfried Schmid, Robinson research professor of mathematics; and Suzanne Walker, professor of microbiology.


Top Teachers

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences conferred its awards for teaching and mentorship during the final regular faculty meeting of the year, on May 5. Five-year Harvard College Professorships—for distinguished undergraduate teaching and advising, and graduate education (and accompanied by support for research and a semester of paid leave or summer salary)—were bestowed on: Katia Bertoldi, Danoff professor of applied mechanics; Glenda Carpio, professor of English and of African and African American studies; Cassandra Extavour, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and of molecular and cellular biology; David S. Jones, Ackerman professor of the culture of medicine; and James Robson, Kralik and Lou professor of East Asian languages and civilizations. The complete list of honorands appears as a sidebar to


Nota Bene

Old museum made new. The Harvard Semitic Museum, established in 1889, has become the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East, announced director Peter Der Manuelian, who is Bell professor of Egyptology (see The rebranding is meant to explain the holdings and scholarly purposes more accurately, he explained.


Pulitzer pair. Colson Whitehead ’91, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Underground Railroad, repeated the feat for his newest work, The Nickel Boys. (He was profiled in “A Literary Chameleon,” September-October 2016, page 32, reported by Jesse McCarthy, now assistant professor of English and of African and African American studies). Jericho Brown, a Radcliffe Institute Fellow in 2009-2010, won the Pulitzer in poetry for The Tradition.


A community coronavirus casualty. Alfred “Fred” Joseph Iannacone Jr., proprietor of the Central Barber Shop, on Massachusetts Avenue hard by Harvard Law School and much of the engineering and applied sciences faculty, died April 20, at age 78, from COVID-19. He ran the shop for more than 50 years, according to family members’ account. Tarr Family professor of bioengineering and applied physics Kit Parker recalled, “Back when I had hair…Fred used to cut my hair.” The shop, he said, was central to the small businesses that serve the Harvard community—and “Fred was a really good dude among all of them.”


Radcliffe’s Virtual Fellows. The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has announced its 42 fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year. The fellowship seems likely to be conducted virtually, but nine Harvard appointees will presumably be nearby: professor of government Christina L. Davis, professor of computer science Cynthia Dwork, assistant professor of education Jarvis R. Givens, professor of health policy David Hemenway, Burbank professor of political economy Torben Iversen, assistant professor of art history Shawon Kinew, professor of studies of women, gender, and sexuality and of African and African American studies Robert F. Reid-Pharr, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques professor of Islamic legal studies Kristen A. Stilt, and Robinson professor of mathematics Lauren K. Williams. Further details are available at


Miscellany. The College has appointed Sheehan Scarborough ’07, M.Div. ’14, senior director of the Harvard Foundation, to succeed the late S. Allen Counter. Scarborough has been director of BGLTQ student life since 2016.…Leah Rosovsky ’78, M.B.A. ’84, Harvard’s vice president for strategies and programs from 2013 to 2019, has been appointed the seventeenth director of the Boston Athenaeum, the 213-year-old library, archive, museum, and reading room.…The Manhattan Institute has conferred its Hayek Book Prize on the late Alberto Alesina, Ropes professor of political economy, and his coauthors, for Austerity: When It Works and When It Doesn’t, reviewed in this magazine (“Uses—and Abuses—of Austerity,” January-February 2019, page 63). Alesina died of a heart attack on May 23.

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