September 19, 2001
Dear Members of the Harvard Community:
The shocking events of last week leave all of us with a profound and enduring sense of loss. We grieve together for the victims and their loved ones, and we contemplate a world altered by the unspeakable acts of September 11th, even as we do our best to resume our daily lives.
Especially at so trying a time, we must work to ensure that the diversity of our community remains a source of strength and mutual support, not a source of division or conflict. Each of us should be mindful in these difficult days to treat all other members of our community, from all backgrounds, with civility, decency, and respect. Maintaining such a spirit of tolerance will honor the victims of September 11th by affirming the ideals and values that lie at the heart of our university and our nation. It will also help us to sustain an environment in which all of us at Harvard can continue to feel secure and at home.
I also want you to know that, in light of the recent tragedy, the University intends to make a $1 million contribution toward scholarship assistance for the children and spouses of victims of last weeks events. These scholarships will be based on need and may be used to attend colleges and universities across the country. We are working with colleagues in the field of higher education to identify the most effective way to organize a scholarship fund to meet educational needs.
I know that many of you have already made individual contributions to various relief organizations, and I know that others wish to do so as well. The University is exploring a number of ways in which it may facilitate community giving, including providing information on various relief organizations and projects, facilitating payroll deductions, and designating convenient collection points for donations. Information will be posted on the Harvard home page in the near future.
We may well have a long road ahead. But I have been profoundly impressed over the last week by your generosity in helping our community and others understand and respond to the terrible events of last week.
Lawrence H. Summers