Campus & Community

Report of the 1999-2000 Harvard Alumni Association Nominating Committee

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This year the alumni will elect five members of the Board of Overseers and six directors of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA).

A nominating committee comprised of Harvard alumni selects eight candidates for Overseer and nine candidates for HAA Elected Director. This report outlines the process by which the Nominating Committee chose its candidates this year.

The Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee consists of 13 voting and 2 non-voting members of differing backgrounds, with considerable knowledge of Harvard and of the work of the Overseers and HAA Directors. Nominating Committee members are appointed for three year terms by the HAA Board of Directors, a body of over 90 elected and appointed alumni representative of all Harvard alumni.

Choosing the Candidates

All alumni of the University are encouraged to suggest candidates each year by writing to the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Wadsworth House, Cambridge, MA 02138. Approximately 700 solicitation letters requesting nominees are mailed to University affiliates. This year the Committee’s pool of candidates included roughly 300 individuals. The Committee’s staff assembled resumé and background data on each nominee.

The Nominating Committee met for more than 28 hours over 4 days. The meetings involved extensive review of the material assembled by the staff, as well as discussions about candidates’ abilities to blend independence of thought with the skills necessary to achieve consensus on and resolution of issues. In many cases, the Committee sought advice from other Harvard alumni to test and clarify opinions and recommendations.

The Committee also considered the duties of Overseers and HAA Directors and the needs of each board for members with a variety of academic, business, and professional backgrounds. They kept in mind the particular qualifications of those members of the two boards whose terms are nearing completion, as well as the qualifications of those who will continue to serve.

Qualifications of Candidacy

In evaluating an individual’s qualifications for service as an Overseer or Director, the Committee emphasized the following:

• experience and achievement in a discipline of particular importance to the boards and the University at this time,

• leadership and consensus-building skills,

• a willingness to represent all alumni in providing counsel to the University,

• a commitment to serve the University on the wide variety of issues encountered in its planning and operations,

• a willingness to commit the significant amount of time and energy necessary for effective service,

• a history of active involvement with the University, and

• a significant contribution to public, educational or charitable endeavors.

Achieving Balance

After identifying potential candidates who met its criteria as individuals, the Committee sought a balanced slate for election by reviewing the existing degree of balance on the boards. To ensure diversity in representing the alumni body, the Committee took into account geographical distribution, academic and professional background, age, gender, and minority representation. The diversity of the Nominating Committee itself contributed importantly in this process.

The Nominating Committee unanimously approved the final slate of nominees, which consists of eight candidates for Overseer and nine candidates for HAA Director.

Participation in the Election

We hope that through an explanation of the careful process followed in nominating candidates, more alumni will be encouraged to vote. If you do not receive a ballot by May 1, please call the Office of the Governing Boards at (617) 495-1534. (Alumni who are officers of Harvard University do not receive Overseer ballots, but may vote for HAA Directors.)

We respectfully urge that you review the background, qualifications and commitment of the candidates and then vote for those whom you believe will make the most effective contribution to the governance of Harvard and to the HAA in the coming years.

Members of the 1999-00 Nominating Committee: Scott A. Abell ‘72, John A. Armstrong ‘56, PhD ‘61, John C. Baldwin ‘71, Joy K. Fallon ’78, JD ’82 (CHAIR), Paul J. Finnegan ‘75, MBA ‘82, Marc L. Goodheart ‘81, JD ‘85 (non-voting member), Avarita L. Hanson ’75, Juanita C. Hernandez ‘82, JD ‘85, Joseph K. Hurd ‘60, MD ‘64, Robert E. Joyce ‘87, Yuki Moore Laurenti ‘79, Theodore B. Lee ‘54, Thomas M. Reardon (non-voting member), David K. Richards ’61, MBA ’65, Peter Strauss ‘54, MBA ’58.