Obama names Summers director of National Economic Council

President-elect Barack Obama announced Nov. 24 that he has selected Lawrence H. Summers as the next director of the National Economic Council. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard and served as Harvard’s 27th president from July 1, 2001, until June 30, 2006.

Obama praised Summers as “one of the great economic minds of our time” in making the announcement. Summers will become the new president’s top economic adviser when he takes office.

Summers is the former Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard, and previously served in a series of senior public policy positions, including secretary of the Treasury of the United States.

For more information on Summers, see http://www.president.harvard.edu/history/27_summers.php.

Honorary degree awarded to Professor Wei-Ming Tu

Professor Wei-Ming Tu, Harvard Yenching Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and of Confucian Studies at Harvard University, will receive an honorary degree from King’s College London in a ceremony on Nov. 25. Tu, one of eight honorees for outstanding academic or intellectual contribution to their fields, has been on the Harvard faculty since 1981 and is widely recognized as a leading scholar in Confucian studies.

Retsinas honored by the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame

Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), was recently inducted into the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement in the housing industry. Retsinas, who is also a lecturer at the Harvard Business School, was one of five inductees recognized by the Hall at The 2008 Tax Credit Developers’ Summit held in Chicago in November.

Lu wins grand prize in the 2008 Collegiate Inventors Competition

Timothy Lu of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology received this year’s 2008 Collegiate Inventors Competition $25,000 grand prize from the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. Lu received the award at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City in November for his project that combats antibiotic-resistant bacteria and bacterial biofilms with engineered bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria) and synthetic gene sensors. The bacteriophage works with antibiotics to make them much more effective. As a result of his work, Lu’s project may see broad use in applications including as attacking superbugs, treating diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and preventing food contamination.

Business School’s Kanter receives honorary degree from Aalborg University

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, was recently awarded an honorary Doctor of Social Science degree from Aalborg University in Denmark for her contribution in the fields of management, leadership, and innovation.

“The importance of your work is strong evidence on the powerful combination of intellectual thought and practical achievements,” said Allan N. Gjerding, Aalborg Univesity’s dean of the Faculty of Social Science, in presenting the degree to Kanter. “By consistently pursuing this intriguing combination, you have established yourself as a truly important thinker of our time.”

A faculty member at Harvard University, Kanter is also the chair and founding director of the Interfaculty Initiative on Advanced Leadership, which assists successful leaders in applying their skills to address challenging national and global problems.

Kanter’s honor from Aalborg University is her 23rd honorary doctorate.

In brief