Campus & Community

A look inside: Currier House

3 min read

Royalty mans the front desk

Five staff photographers will offer close-ups of the interests, activities, and personalities inside five Harvard Houses in installments over the course of the academic year.

Five nights a week, “Your Highness” sits behind the bell desk at Currier House in the Radcliffe Quad, the lord of all he surveys. Students sometimes bring him ice cream or other food offerings. When incoming Currier freshmen arrive for their spring visit, he is proudly sought out for introductions.

Unlike the royalty the name suggests, he readily hops out of his chair to give bear hugs and hearty hellos and to retrieve packages sent from home. He has a thick photo album with hundreds of pictures of himself posed with Currier students. When his shift as a security guard ends at midnight, he heads downstairs to beat a student or two at Ping-Pong.

Yohannes Tewolde long ago gave up trying to teach others to pronounce the nuances of his first name, and so is known simply as “Your Highness.” An Ethiopian native with master’s degrees in electrical engineering and divinity, Tewolde lives in Allston with his wife and two young children. He began working at Harvard in 2007.

Last year, when asked to speak at a “Scholars Night,” he was surprised when the expected 20-30 students turned into an overflow audience of more than 100.

He calls Nadejda Marques the “First Lady” because she and her husband, Jim Cavallaro, are the House masters. As for the students, he says, “I hope I’m making a difference in their lives, encouraging them if they’re down. I tell them they’re doing a good job, and I pray for them. Sometimes I tell them to take a nap and get some rest. They tell me I’m like a mom or a dad.”