Avarita L. Hanson ’75 in 1975 founded what’s now known as the Association of Black Harvard Women (ABHW), and has served as treasurer of the Harvard and Radcliffe Class of 1975, president of the Harvard Club of Georgia, Harvard Alumni Association director, and Radcliffe College Alumnae Association director. She was also a member of the Committee to Nominate Overseers and Elected Directors, and on the board of the Harvard Black Alumni Association, and was an alumni interviewer in the Atlanta region. An attorney for more than 40 years, she was executive director of the Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, which urges lawyers to improve access to the legal system. Hanson was also associate dean and associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where she advised the Black Law Students Association that now bears her name.
An exemplary and energetic volunteer, mentor, and community builder for more than four decades, you have devoted your life to uplifting others at Harvard and beyond, creating a thriving affinity space that has empowered countless Black undergraduates and alumnae, and continually advocating for diversity, equity, and justice for all.
William F. Lee ’72 has helped usher in a range of historic governance reforms and was instrumental in the University’s last two presidential searches. A member of the Board of Overseers from 2002 to 2008 and of the Harvard Corporation since 2010, he has served as senior fellow from 2014 (he steps down July 1). As a Corporation member, Lee has chaired its committee on governance and been a leading member of its committees on appointments, facilities, capital planning, and shareholder responsibility, as well as the governing boards’ joint committee on inspection. He is a past member of visiting committees for Harvard Law School (HLS) and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and of the board of directors of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Lee has also taught as a visiting professor and lecturer at HLS. A partner at the law firm WilmerHale, Lee is a nationally renowned trial and appellate lawyer specializing in intellectual property litigation. He also serves as lead trial counsel for Harvard in litigation challenging aspects of Harvard College’s admissions practices.
Wise, thoughtful, open-minded, strategic, selfless, and profoundly dedicated, you have provided steady and ambitious leadership that has advanced the University’s core mission of education, research, and service; upheld its commitment to fostering a diverse community that values difference; and enhanced its governance in ways that will benefit the institution for generations to come.
Dwight D. Miller, Ed.M. ’71, affected generations of Harvard College students throughout more than 50 years in the admissions office, from which he retired as a senior admissions officer in 2019. During this period the applicant pool rose from fewer than 5,000 students in the late 1960s to 43,330 for the Class of 2023. When the former U.S. Marine platoon leader and teacher joined Harvard, he became a mentor to undergraduates and an advocate for admitting talented students, regardless of their economic circumstances. He covered most of New England, the Atlantic seaboard, parts of the midwestern and southwestern U.S., and Canada. He was also senior adviser in the Freshman Dean’s Office, and a proctor in Grays Hall from 1967 to 1990—the longest tenure to date. Miller was instrumental in creating the Hiram Hunn Award, which recognizes alumni volunteer interviewers—and which was re-named the Miller-Hunn Award in 2019 to honor his contributions.
For more than half a century, your unwavering pursuit of the brightest minds from all backgrounds and economic circumstances for admission into Harvard College has shaped the student body and greatly enriched the University community, while your signature humor, compassion, and mentorship have nurtured a welcoming environment where every person can thrive.
Tom Reardon ’68 has worked devotedly to strengthen Harvard’s connections to its wide-ranging military community. In 2007 he founded the Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization (HVAO), a Harvard Alumni Association shared interest group of about 2,500 people that serves as a network for veterans on and off campus, honors Harvard veterans, and bolsters the University’s relationships to student, faculty, and staff veterans. In working with the College admissions office, Reardon also introduced the Service to School (S2S) program. Reardon helped raise funds for HVAO-donated plaques in Memorial Church—one for Harvard’s 18 Medal of Honor recipients and another to recognize four Army chaplains who met at Harvard and perished together on the SS Dorchester in 1943. An undergraduate during the era of anti-Vietnam War protests, he was drafted after graduation and served three years as an infantry officer, including one as a platoon leader and company executive officer, in the 23rd Infantry Division in Vietnam, receiving the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge.
With a clear vision, a collaborative mindset, and a sense of duty to your fellow veterans, you have worked tirelessly to strengthen Harvard’s military community, building an extraordinary network that supports thousands of veterans on and off campus, eases their transition into civilian life, and honors their proud history of service and sacrifice.