Campus & Community

University Marshal Richard M. Hunt to retire

3 min read

Harvard’s protocol chief has been on faculty 42 years


(Staff photo by Stephanie Mitchell)

Richard M. Hunt, a Harvard faculty member for 42 years and its University Marshal since 1982, has announced that he will retire Aug. 30. He also will retire from his position as Senior Lecturer on Social Studies.

As University Marshal, Hunt has presided over Commencement and other special convocations while also overseeing the Harvard International Office and the University Marshal’s Office, which welcomes distinguished visitors to Harvard.

The University Marshal, a position dating back to the end of the 19th century, represents the President and Fellows of Harvard College in all matters of protocol, including the welcoming of international visitors and heads of state to the University. The Marshal also ensures that Harvard is represented at anniversary celebrations and inaugurations of new university presidents in the United States and abroad.

In a letter to colleagues, Hunt noted that “I have greatly enjoyed my time at Harvard, but I feel that the time is right for me to step aside — before the beginning of a new term. As many of you know, John Bethell [the former editor of Harvard Magazine] and I are working on a book entitled Harvard A to Z, which we do want to complete by the end of the year. … This is by no means a farewell, as my family and I will be staying in Cambridge, and I intend to remain very much a part of the Harvard community.”

Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers congratulated Hunt for his many years of service and thanked him for his enduring contributions to Harvard.

“As Marshal for two decades, Rick has served the University with distinction, dedication, and a profound sense of the history that animates Harvard,” Summers said. “As a keeper of our most cherished traditions, as the familiar master of ceremonies at Commencement and other special convocations, and as a gracious and engaging host for countless distinguished visitors to Harvard from around the world, Rick has been one of Harvard’s leading goodwill ambassadors and a diplomat extraordinaire. He has also carried forward as a member of the Social Studies faculty and a respected member of our community of international scholars. Through it all, Rick has served Harvard with a combination of grace and sophistication that will be hard to replace.”

Hunt received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard in 1960, after receiving a master’s degree from Columbia University (1951) and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University (1949). Since joining the Harvard faculty in 1960, he has held a number of administrative posts besides University Marshal, including director of the Mellon Faculty Fellowship Program, assistant dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1960-1969), and associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1970-1977). Hunt has taught a Core Curriculum course on Weimar and Nazi Germany and a Social Studies junior tutorial on “Leadership and Followership.” Hunt has also served as chairman of the Faculty Committee on Religion and as a member of the Social Studies and Center for European Studies committees.

Summers said that he would begin a search for a new University Marshal immediately, and invited members of the Harvard community to write to him with nominations or advice. Confidential letters may be directed to Summers c/o Jacqueline O’Neill, Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138. In the interim, Jill Chamberlain in the University Marshal’s Office is available to answer any questions about the office.