Sarah Karmon to Lead Alumni Association
Sarah C. Karmon, who has been deputy executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) since 2018, will become executive director and associate vice president of alumni affairs and development, effective in January. She succeeds Philip W. Lovejoy, executive director and associate vice president since 2014, who announced last February that he would step down at the end of this year. The appointment was announced today by Brian K. Lee, vice president of alumni affairs and development.
According to the University news release, Karmon was formerly chief of staff to Provost Alan Garber before joining HAA as senior director of University-wide affairs in 2016. She also served as a special assistant to the search committee that selected Lawrence S. Bacow as Harvard’s twenty-ninth president in February 2018. In a statement in the news announcement, Bacow said, “Sarah has been a terrific leader in a time of challenge and change. She has brought together our alumni and created important connections across all parts of the University.” Of her new responsibilities, he continued, “Her commitment to Harvard, along with her hallmark collegiality, will help our alumni engage with the University and with each other even more deeply in the years ahead.”
“Working closely with Harvard’s alumni over the past several years has been an incredibly rewarding and inspiring experience,” Karmon said. “It’s a tremendous honor to take on this role and to serve our alumni, the University, and the HAA as executive director.” Pointing to the association’s role, and her own, she continued, “Working together, we can help share and advance priorities at the schools, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and across the University—and continue to build an inclusive and interconnected community. I’m grateful to the HAA’s Board of Directors, Brian Lee, and President Bacow for this opportunity, and I’m excited to get started.”
As deputy executive director, Karmon was in effect a chief operating officer. Among her responsibilities, described in the news announcement, were leading development of hybrid programming and events throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She was also deeply involved in bringing the classes of 2020 and 2021 back to campus for the special in-person, make-up “Commencement Celebration” events this past May.
The HAA oversees technological outreach to alumni, Harvard Clubs, Shared Interest Groups, alumni events worldwide, College class reports and reunions, and Harvard Alumni Day—now formally separated from Commencement proper, and devoted to alumni, reunion activities, and the HAA annual meeting. Through the Board Committee to Nominate Overseers and Elected Directors, the HAA also plays an important, direct role in University governance.
Given her HAA experience, Karmon’s transition should be smooth and swift—valuable attributes at a time of change in University leadership, as President Bacow prepares to step down in June and his successor begins to become acquainted with alumni worldwide. In the announcement, HAA President Allyson Mendenhall, a member of the search advisory committee to identify Lovejoy’s successor, said, “Sarah’s appointment is the perfect culmination of one of the most inclusive, collaborative, and consultative administrative searches I’ve seen. The HAA board stands ready to help her make a seamless transition to her new role. Sarah has been a thoughtful, diligent and strategic partner to the full team of HAA staff, to the board, and to countless alumni volunteer leaders around the world, especially over these challenging last years.”