Campus & Community

President Summers is remembered by many…

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Summers with Class of
To the cheers and welcoming smiles of graduates, President Summers arrives in the Yard for Commencement 2004. (Staff file photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office)

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Summers lays foundation for renewal and expansion

A Summers timeline

“Larry is one of the most brilliant and insightful administrators with whom I have worked at Harvard. During Larry’s presidency, Harvard emerged as a major center of African studies in the academy, as well as a model for the recruitment of stellar professors of African descent. I believe that a significant aspect of Larry’s legacy as Harvard’s 27th president will be the creation of African studies as a degree-granting department, and of our unparalleled African Languages Program. Larry and I began his administration toe-to-toe, and ended up shoulder-to-shoulder.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research

“Almost as soon as my book on American responses to genocide was published, I began hearing strange rumors that its loudest promoter was one Larry Summers. I didn’t know Larry then, but I quickly learned that having read the book, he was making the case – as a university president, as a former senior government official, and as an American — that the United States and its allies needed to do far more to prevent mass slaughter, and universities needed to do more to support the enterprise. Larry cherished the notion that ideas hatched on Harvard’s campus might have practical application. I cannot imagine a university president who, in his dealings with faculty, had the intellectual range to raise so many hard questions, and the social commitment to crave real answers.” – Samantha Power, professor of practice in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government

“Larry Summers is too good a friend for me to be entirely objective about him, but I must point to three of his achievements in particular: first, his understanding of Harvard as an inescapably global university; second, his recognition that the odd neglect of modern India and South Asia in Harvard demands a robust and constructive response; third, his deep involvement with student affairs, one of his long-standing interests.” – Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, Harvard University

“With each passing decade, it will be ever more obvious how much Harvard science and medicine – indeed how much all of us who benefit from scientific advances – owe to the foresight and courage of Larry Summers. Larry’s leadership was critical in establishing the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, but even more important, his vision for all of Harvard science was broad and exciting. He set in motion new arrangements across the University that enable students and faculty to explore new fields and develop new technologies that will teach us more about our world.” – Douglas Melton, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard University

“It is a privilege to have worked closely with Larry as a colleague and friend. He has the curiosity and courage to ask hard questions in the pursuit of truth. He brings these traits – along with vision, passion, and great intelligence – to everything he does. He challenged the rest of us who lead universities no less than he challenged Harvard. We will miss him.” – Richard C. Levin, president, Yale University

“I was privileged to work with Larry on the Harvard Committee of Science. Larry is a unique and gifted person. He possesses the intellect of a world-class academic with the vision and leadership capabilities of a great CEO. In my opinion, his work in the field of life sciences and his vision for future pursuits in this field are ahead of their time.” – Robert Kraft, CEO, Kraft Group

“Larry Summers brought enormous intellect and energy to the Harvard presidency. His many accomplishments will shape and strengthen the University for decades to come.” – Elena Kagan, Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law, dean of the Faculty of Law

“The city of Boston has benefited tremendously from President Summers’ tenure at Harvard University. From the beginning, he has offered Harvard’s expertise and resources to help solve tough issues like affordable housing. He’s made a difference in the lives of hundreds of Boston’s kids by supporting the city’s after-school programs. And now, thanks to Larry Summers’ vision and leadership on the University’s future North Allston campus, Harvard and Boston will be unrivaled as the world’s premier home of life science research and innovation.

“For their success as well as ours, it’s essential that great universities like Harvard be partners with their cities. Larry Summers understands this, and because of his efforts, is leaving a legacy of community partnership of which both Harvard University and Boston can be proud.” – Mayor Thomas M. Menino, city of Boston

“Larry Summers is not only one of the most gifted economists of our generation but one with a deep devotion to public service and a sincere commitment to effective international cooperation. Without compromising his loyalty to his country and the institutions he served, Larry supported my country when it was most needed. He will always have my gratitude and friendship.” – Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, director of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization

“I have known Larry since his days in the World Bank and have always been impressed by his mastery over his subject, and his quicksilver intelligence. My interactions with Larry – in any capacity – have always been marked by warmth and cordiality. These interactions have remained particularly memorable as a result of his sharp wit and sense of humor.” – Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India

“President Summers has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and integrity. His five years will be remembered as one of the more creative and productive in Harvard’s history.” – Joseph J. O’Donnell, CEO, Boston Concessions Group

“Larry Summers understands that one gains a more comprehensive view of the world by trying to learn what others know. Larry’s is an analytic mind, and he makes so much room for the cultural and emotional spheres – even the irrational, that which is ultimately human.” – Yo-Yo Ma ’76

“I feel a deep, personal admiration for President Summers. The intellectual rigor of the man is the mark of Harvard. I have great respect for people who think through what you are bringing to the table and decide if they agree with it before welcoming you with open arms. He gets the job done.” – Bono