Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana today announced the appointment of Nina Zipser, dean for faculty affairs and planning, and David Laibson, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics, as the new faculty deans for Lowell House, effective at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Nina and David, already treasured members of the Harvard community, into these new roles,” Khurana said. “Nina and David bring extraordinary passion and remarkable commitment to fostering the education of our students, and they will be tremendous assets to Lowell House and Harvard’s residential community.”
Zipser and Laibson will succeed Diana Eck and Dorothy Austin, who have served as Lowell’s faculty deans since 1998. Austin and Eck will welcome their successors into the Lowell House community as members of the Senior Common Room.
“This year will give them a chance to get to know the Lowell House community and become familiar with the new Lowell that is taking shape as the construction process moves toward a conclusion next spring,” Eck said. “There will be a lot of transition as the whole House moves home next year, so it is just wonderful to have David and Nina on board at this point.”
Zipser has served as dean of faculty affairs since 2008, and holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard. Working closely with students is the most rewarding aspect of her job, she said.
“I’m thrilled to become a faculty dean with David,” Zipser said. “Harvard has such amazing students, and I can’t imagine anything more fun and meaningful than talking with and mentoring our students.”
Laibson earned a Ph.D. from MIT after completing an A.B. from Harvard and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. He is the former chair of Harvard’s Economics Department.
“I am extremely excited to step into this new role with Nina,” Laibson said. “I graduated from the College myself, and personally experienced the central and transformative role that House life plays. I am coming full circle and am thrilled to rejoin the Harvard House community, and I can’t think of a better way to contribute to and learn from our students.”
Once the transition is complete, both Austin and Eck will turn to unfinished writing projects. After taking leave in the fall of 2019, Eck will continue to teach courses in religion and South Asian studies and to serve as director of the Pluralism Project.
“We have been at Harvard a long time,” said Eck. “We both have loved teaching and Dorothy loved her years at the Memorial Church, but our years at Lowell House have been the happiest and most rewarding of all. It is a wonderful job, and we are delighted to see David and Nina embrace it with such enthusiasm.”