Campus & Community

Parents of Navin Narayan endow lecture series

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The Kuumba singers say a prayer inside Apthorpe House before performing at a memorial service for Navin Narayan at the Adams House Library last Friday. Staff photo by Kris Snibbe.

The Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture has been endowed by the parents of Navin Narayan ’99, a Rhodes Scholar and summa cum laude graduate in social studies who died of cancer this past March.

Kalman and Kusuma Narayan’s gift will bring a speaker to Harvard each March “to lecture on topics including social problems and service to humanity,” said David Fithian, senior tutor of Adams House, where Narayan lived for two and a half years.

Narayan worked with the Red Cross from age 14 onward, eventually chairing one of its national committees and serving as adviser to then-Director Elizabeth Dole. He helped found the Harvard Cancer Society’s Pediatric Oncology Program, which mentors children with cancer. For his senior thesis, he conducted fieldwork on child labor in India.

In the painted tunnels below Adams House, Malka Resnicoff ’00 pays tribute to Navin Narayan ’99, who died from cancer in March, by initiating a painting in his honor. Resnicoff has asked people who knew Narayan to contribute memorable images to the project or paint a design of their own. Here Resnicoff firms up the edge of the wings of a dove.

“The idea of a lecture seems fitting, given Navin’s academic accomplishments and his intellectual curiosity,” said Fithian.

Contributions to the lecture fund may be sent to: Harvard University, Recording Secretary’s Office, Fourth Floor, 124 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138. Checks may be made out to Harvard University (Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture). For more information, please call (617) 495-1636.

Adams House has also established the Navin Narayan Public Service Award, an annual award for the Adams House student “who most exemplifies Navin’s extraordinary commitment to public service and kindness to others.”