In the aftermath of another winter storm, Wednesday morning greeted Harvard College students with a cold chill, snow, slush, and ice as they made their way to classes.
There to greet the students on the Harvard shuttle was interim College Dean Donald H. Pfister.
Pfister, who is also the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany, rode the shuttle from Memorial Hall to the river Houses, and then up to the Radcliffe Quad as another way to meet students and hear directly from them.
“I think this is really fun,” said Rebecca Grzyb ’16, who boarded the shuttle at the Quad. “Based on his last email, I assumed he would be on the shuttle today.”
Throughout the year, Pfister has sent messages on a regular basis to all undergraduates, touching on a wide range of topics: from fungi (the focus of Pfister’s research), news about undergraduates, and the latest book he is reading. In a message sent Tuesday, Pfister alluded to riding the shuttle.
As students trudged onto the bus, their bags filled with books and boots dripping with slush, Pfister handed them bookmarks, which listed his office hours on the back. He chatted with students as they sipped coffee, munched bagels, or ate from steaming cups full of oatmeal. Some were returning from early morning practices and workouts, while others were heading to their first classes. Outside, the shuttle’s sign flashed “Dean on Board.”
All seemed to appreciate the dean taking time out of his schedule to share an experience that so many students encounter every day.
“I’ve never had the chance to talk to the dean in person before, so I think this was great. This is the last place I would expect to see the dean, so this was fun,” said Serena Wang ’16.