“I’m a department of one pursuing my very own special concentration,” he said. “It took months, a 30-page application, six recommendation letters, and more signatures than it would were I to run for president, but I finally got approval to pursue the first-ever atmospheric sciences concentration at Harvard.
“Being a department of one has its challenges,” said Cappucci, who received a Gerald Jordan Family Scholarship. “I anticipated the path to be a lonely one. I could not have been more wrong. Harvard has given me everything and I will never be able to repay them for the incredible doors they’ve opened and the gifts they’ve given me. Thank you all for what you have done, and the support you continue to give.”
The evening also featured comments from Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons, both of whom extolled the financial aid program as among Harvard’s most important.
“I am incredibly grateful to everyone here tonight for the powerful legacy of opportunity that you have helped to build here at Harvard,” Smith said. “As tonight so wonderfully demonstrates, financial aid empowers the next generation. Financial aid frees our students to follow their passions, and it accelerates the development of tomorrow’s leaders.”
“Tonight is one of the greatest nights of my life,” Fitzsimmons said. “I believe in equality of opportunity, and if we are any kind of world or society, we need to guarantee equality of opportunity for every generation. This mission and this event defines who we are.”
Ken Griffin, who in 2014 made the largest gift to financial aid in College history, agreed that providing opportunity for all is a core value.
“People often ask me why I am so committed to financial aid,” he said. “Financial aid speaks to a principle that all of us hold dear as Americans. You cannot be the greatest institution in America if you do not represent the belief in equality of opportunity in your actions.”
“The Harvard that we know today was made by financial aid,” said Lloyd Blankfein. “And the gratitude flows in both directions: [to and from] the donors who help worthy students realize their potential, and the worthy students [who allow] Harvard to realize its potential.”