The HAA’s “Diverse Alumni Family”
“It’s great to learn something new every day,” says Susan Morris Novick ’85, the new president of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). “Harvard has always been a great place to do that, and it is one of many reasons that I keep coming back.”
The Long Island native began her one-year term in July, following 25 years of volunteer service to the University. Novick has been an alumni interviewer and president of the Harvard Club of Long Island, then was appointed to the HAA’s board of directors a decade ago, and spent the past few years on its executive committee. From 2010 to 2014, Novick also co-chaired the HAA’s continuing education committee, and enjoyed exploring “the wealth of online learning materials available to alumni,” such as HarvardX.
Although she concentrated in history and literature as an undergraduate, her favorite course was in the sciences. Agassiz professor of zoology Stephen Jay Gould’s “History of Earth and of Life,” she reports, transformed “the scientific origins of life into one of the greatest stories ever told.” Outside class, she worked on productions at the then-recently founded American Repertory Theater. She has spent most of her career as a freelance journalist, focusing on food and the arts, notably for The New York Times. More recently, she joined the financial industry as a portfolio manager.
In her new role at Harvard, Novick spoke at Class Day in May, sharing the Tercentenary Theatre stage with her daughter, Olivia ’17, a member of the senior class committee. (Novick’s son, Myles ’15, was already within the ranks of the HAA’s more than 300,000 constituents.) She urged the imminent alumni to “Stay grateful. Stay connected. Stay engaged.”
“I feel more connected to Harvard now than I did when I was a student because although Harvard’s footprint is here in Cambridge, the Harvard community is global,” she said, evidenced by upcoming HAA conferences in Nicaragua, Portugal, and India, where alumni “share a coming-of-age story that began right here in Harvard Yard, with common values and common interests, before they began to shape their communities, and the world. Tomorrow, you and your classmates will be welcomed into this diverse alumni family.” She left them with the HAA’s “new, unofficial motto”: Veritas, ubiquitas, aeternitas.