Campus & Community

Hammonds named dean of Harvard College

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Evelynn Hammonds, the University’s senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity and the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed dean of Harvard College, effective June 1, 2008.

“I am very pleased that someone as thoughtful, talented, and skilled as Evelynn Hammonds will take on the leadership of Harvard College,” said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). “During the search I heard repeatedly that it was important that the College dean exercise broad oversight of the undergraduate curriculum in addition to overseeing the College more broadly, and she will do this work superbly. She is an outstanding leader with a keen understanding of the changing and diverse needs of our undergraduates both inside and outside the classroom. She also recognizes the extraordinary talents and promise that these students possess. I look forward to working with her.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank David Pilbeam for his dedication to our undergraduates and his extraordinary commitment to this institution as he took on the role of dean of the College this year. David, as always, has provided strong leadership and wise guidance and, more than anyone, deserves our thanks for the smooth running of the College during a period of transition. I am very grateful to him for his service as dean and for his being willing to stay on through the end of this term,” Smith said.

“I am honored to have this extraordinary opportunity to lead the College with its exceptional students at such an important period in its history,” Hammonds said. “I know that there are many challenges facing the College, and I am ready to tackle them with my colleagues’ help. Thanks to the strong leadership of David Pilbeam, I know that there is a dedicated, hardworking staff in place eager to help the College reach its goals. I am excited to work with them and, most of all, to work with our wonderful students.”

Hammonds has a distinguished record of service to Harvard University. In her position as senior vice provost, she advises the provost and president on faculty appointments and supports the recruitment and advancement of minorities and women. She also advises the provost and president on issues related to the tenure process, reviews junior faculty and other term appointments, and oversees the administration of funds designated to facilitate appointments of outstanding scholars who also increase the diversity of our faculty. In 2005, she chaired the Task Force on Women Faculty. The senior vice provost’s position was created in response to recommendations from that task force and the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering, and in this capacity she was charged with implementing the recommendations of both task forces. A search for her successor in this position will begin promptly.

“I have come to know and greatly admire Evelynn Hammonds these past few years, as a fine scholar, as a strong institutional leader, and as someone who cares profoundly about the educational experience of our students in all its dimensions,” said President Drew Faust. “This is an exciting moment of change for the College, and Evelynn’s academic values and leadership qualities promise to serve our undergraduates well. I want to thank her for all she has accomplished as our first senior vice provost, and at the same time to express my gratitude to David Pilbeam for his extraordinary continuing service to the College and the FAS.”

“I am enormously grateful to Evelynn Hammonds, not only for the vital work that she has accomplished through the establishment of the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, but for the exceptional vision, intelligence, and dedication she brings to all she does,” said Provost Steven E. Hyman. “Evelynn has been a galvanizing force in our efforts to build the faculty across the University, and her imaginative intellect and open, engaging manner will benefit undergraduate education and student life. She’ll be a hard act to follow as senior vice provost, but we will begin the search for her successor soon.”

In addition to her experience and accomplishments as senior vice provost, Hammonds is a distinguished scholar and teacher. She joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2002 after teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology and Medicine. Her scholarly interests include the history of scientific, medical, and sociopolitical concepts of race, the history of disease and public health, gender in science and medicine, and African-American history. She is the author of “Childhood’s Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930” and many scholarly articles. She is currently working on “The Logic of Difference: A History of Race in Science and Medicine in the United States.”

Hammonds received her B.S. in physics from Spelman College. She earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in physics from MIT, and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. She served as Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer from 2003 to 2005. Hammonds is an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She is a current member of the Board of Overseers of the Museum of Science in Boston, a member of the Board of the Social Science Research Council, member of the Board of Governors, University of California Humanities Research Institute, 2006-2008, and a member of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She holds an honorary doctorate of humane letters from her alma mater, Spelman College. In February 2008 she was named a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Hammonds was recently named to serve on the National Research Council’s Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline.