Campus & Community

Looking back at 2018-19

A kid looking back at students

Photo by Olivia Falcigno

long read

A roundup of the University’s biggest events from the academic year

From the beginning of last summer to Commencement Day, the University has been in constant motion.

Harvard bid Drew Faust a fond farewell and welcomed its new president, Larry Bacow.

New faculty members rose through the ranks and students and researchers kept the innovation ball rolling, from making progress toward curing diseases to developing the first-ever image of a black hole.

The Smith Campus Center opened its shiny glass doors after a lengthy renovation process, and has quickly become one of community members’ favorite campus spots.

And, of course, Harvard still knows how to let its hair down by dancing, laughing, and celebrating through move-in day, Housing Day, Hasty Pudding, Winter Fest, and, finally, the graduates’ last day on campus during Commencement.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019; it’s been one extraordinary year.

June 2018

Sixteen Harvard students are embedded for 10 weeks of the summer in mayors’ offices around the country in a new Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative fellows program targeting persistent local problems.

Harvard Medical School (HMS) launches two new centers to transform therapeutic development: the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science and the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Systems Pharmacology.

Red fabric flowing in the wind

The 130-foot-long “Wavelength” canopy.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

The 130-foot-long “Wavelength” canopy is installed on the Science Center Plaza, designed by Interior Partners in collaboration with Harvard Common Spaces, Harvard Planning Office, and Project for Public Spaces.

Harvard Graduate School of Design Professor in Practice of Architecture Farshid Moussavi, M.Arch. ’91, is honored with a coveted Order of the British Empire award during the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Human rights expert and former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at HLS and a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, is named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.

Faust laughing at John Lithgow

John Lithgow having fun with Drew Faust.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

Drew Faust says goodbye as Harvard’s president while members of the University community celebrate her 11 years as leader with humorous and heartfelt tributes, moving musical performances, and dancing that stretch into the evening.

July 2018

The 300,000 visitors to the museum standing with balloons

The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture’s (HMSC) 300,000 visitors for 2018, along with Jane Pickering, the executive director of HMSC.

Courtesy of the HMSC

For the first time since its formation in 2012, the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture tops 300,000 visitors in a single year.

For the fifth year Harvard hosts the Warrior-Scholar Project, an academic boot camp intended to provide members of the armed forces or those recently discharged with the skills and confidence to transition to top-tier colleges.

The Harvard Library launches its new website, combining the Harvard Library and Harvard College Library sites into one platform with users at its heart.

New leadership marks the month as Larry Bacow assumes his role as Harvard’s 29th president. Bridget Terry Long, the Saris Professor of Education and Economics, becomes the newest dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education. Tomiko Brown-Nagin, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at HLS and a history professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, joins the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study as its dean.

Bridget Terry Long, (from left) Saris Professor of Education and Economics, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Claudine Gay, the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvardís Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, meet in Fay House.

Two new deans assume their roles in July: Bridget Terry Long (far left), Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Tomiko Brown-Nagin (far right), Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Claudine Gay (center) begins her role of Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in August.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

August 2018

Claudine Gay begins her role as Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Gay is the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African American Studies and is the founding chair of Harvard’s Inequality in America Initiative.

Wyss Institute researchers develop a method to record the developmental history of every cell in a mouse’s body in real time using evolving genetic barcodes.

A woman putting the art installation together

“Autumn (… Nothing Personal)” being built.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo

“Autumn (… Nothing Personal),” a public sculpture by artist Teresita Fernández, is installed in Harvard Yard at Tercentenary Theatre.

September 2018

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health commemorates Harvard’s first female faculty member, Alice Hamilton, with the unveiling of a new sculpture in the lobby of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Building lobby.

A view of two floors of the Smith Center

The Smith Campus Center.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

Harvard’s redesigned Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center officially opens with a dedication ceremony attended by President Bacow, President Emerita Faust, and members of the Harvard and Cambridge communities. The center’s Moise Y. Safra Welcome Pavilion will now act as a “front door” for University visitors.

Athlete Colin Kaepernick and comedian Dave Chappelle are among the eight distinguished people to receive the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at the sixth annual Hutchins Center Honors presented by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Researchat Harvard.

October 2018

A group of researchers led by John Doyle, the Henry B. Silsbee Professor of Physics, are part of a team that made the most precise measure ever of an electron’s charge.

Singers on stage at Bacow inauguration

Scenes from Larry Bacow’s inauguration celebration.

Stephanie Mitchell and Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

Larry Bacow is inaugurated as Harvard’s 29th president at the culmination of a two-day celebration that draws together faraway friends, colleagues from other universities, and members of the Harvard community.

Harvard Extension School holds its inaugural convocation to honor all students — particularly online and distance learners — for being admitted to a degree program.

In reaction to the growing challenges posed by global environmental change, author and Harvard Divinity School writer in residence Terry Tempest Williams and Harvard Chan School principal research scientist and Planetary Health Alliance Director Sam Myers launch the Constellation Project.

Arnold Arboretum staff Tiffany Enzenbacher and Kea Woodruff embark on a nine-day, 1,600-mile plant collecting trip through the Ozarks, including parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. It is one of four expeditions undertaken for the Arboretum’s Campaign for the Living Collections in 2018, and the first by an exclusively female team in Arboretum history.

Two people playing chess outside the Smith Center

Chess players outside of Smith Campus Center.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

Players bond and battle during Community Chess Weekend at Smith Campus Center.

Harvard Business School opens Klarman Hall, its new, 1,000-seat convening space, with a dedication ceremony and symposium.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu takes the stage at the Weatherhead Center’s second annual International Comedy Night and entertains a crowd of 300 with edgy political humor.

November 2018

HLS celebrates the opening of its newest building at 1607 Massachusetts Ave. It was created to foster and expand the Law School’s experiential and clinical learning and to support research programs.

Devah Pager, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Sociology for Public Policy, dies after a long illness. She is remembered as a pioneering scholar whose research shone a light on the consequences of discrimination.

The Harvard Quantum Initiative is launched. The initiative is intended to bring together a new scientific community, in concert with national efforts to accelerate progress in quantum technology.

A Harvard football player running down the field

Harvard and Yale playing at Fenway Park.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

In the 135th edition of The Game, the Harvard football team pulled away from Yale in the fourth quarter to earn a decisive victory, 45‒27, at historic Fenway Park.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation pledges $200 million to HMS with the overarching goal of transforming new medical discoveries into patient treatments.

Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner, returns to Harvard as the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.

Harvard engineer and roboticist Robert Wood is honored with the newly created Max Planck-Humboldt Medal for his role and accomplishments in the field of soft robotics.

Michael Smith receives a fond farewell from colleagues as he steps down from his FAS deanship.

The Arnold Arboretum masquerades as a park in 19th-century Paris for the filming of a scene for a major motion picture adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”

December 2018

Jack Szostak discovers that inosine could be a potential route to the first RNA and the origin of life on Earth.

President emerita and celebrated historian Drew Faust is named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.

A house with modern touches


Photos by Michael Grimm © Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities

HouseZero opens as an office space with the ambitious goal of producing more energy than it uses over its lifetime. It’s also a research tool for the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities.

Teju Cole, author of “Open City” and “Every Day Is for the Thief,” joins the Harvard faculty as the first Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice.

Former Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, who held numerous top posts in the State Department and on Capitol Hill, takes over as the new director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School.

January 2019

HMS Dean George Daley and Kolokotrones University Professor Paul Farmer celebrate the launch of the University of Global Health Equity, the world’s first medical school dedicated to global health.

The Harvard’s men’s basketball team use a day off in Atlanta to meet former President Jimmy Carter and visit Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and gravesite.

Bryce Dallas Howard in the Hasty Pudding parade

Bryce Dallas Howard being paraded around campus.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

Hasty Pudding honors Bryce Dallas Howard as Woman of the Year with the traditional parade, roast, and pudding pot.

February 2019

The Harvard Chan School launches the Zhu Family Center for GlobalCancer Prevention.

Bacow speaking in DC

Larry Bacow speaking in Washington D.C.

Photo by Kynat Akram

President Bacow discusses the future of higher education in the U.S. during an event in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution.

David E. ’93 and Stacey L. Goel make a $100 million donation to enable Harvard, in tandem with the American Repertory Theater, to imagine a 21st-century research and performance center on Allston campus. The gift will also support arts programs throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Harvard Art Museums’ Bauhaus exhibit opens, showcasing the long reach of the influential art movement and celebrating the centennial of the School’s founding.

Writer, producer, and transgender activist Janet Mock is named the 2019 Harvard University Artist of the Year.

Hasty Pudding cast members dancing

The first Hasty Pudding cast to feature both men and women practicing their routines.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

For the first time in its 171-year history women take the stage as part of the Hasty Pudding cast. Six men and six women make up the onstage talent in the original student musical “France France Revolution!”

The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University is awarded a $10 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education to launch the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks.

The Harvard Glee Club honors the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois with a winter concert, more than 100 years after the storied black scholar was denied entry to the club.

A student playing shuffle board outside

A student playing shuffleboard during WinterFest.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

WinterFest gives students and the local community a time and place to chill out and warm up.

Actor Milo Ventimiglia gets a campus tour and a pudding pot as Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year.

March 2019

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development announces the creation of Lab1636, a major translational research alliance with Deerfield Management that looks to advance the development of new therapeutic treatments.

Harvard College admits 1,950 students to the Class of ’23, hailing from every state and 89 countries.

Colleagues reflect on the legacy of Sidney Verba, an influential political scientist who taught at Harvard for 35 years.

Students cheering and holding flags

Students hoot and holler during Housing Day.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

First-year students learn which House they will live in beginning sophomore year during the annual celebration of Harvard Housing Day.

Harvard Square’s new restaurant, The Heights, opens on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center.

The Arnold Arboretum breaks ground on a 1,297-panel solar and battery array to supply power to the institution’s research and administration facility at Weld Hill. The combined systems will keep the equivalent of 401 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere per year.

April 2019

Bruce Donoff, dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine for 28 years, announces that he will step down from the position at the end of the calendar year.

Indigenous leaders offer unique perspectives on climate change during an event at Harvard Divinity School, “The Land and the Waters Are Speaking: Indigenous Views on Climate Change.”

Sarah Whiting, dean of architecture at Rice University, announces she will return to Harvard, where she taught early in her career, as dean of the Graduate School of Design.

A pic of a black hole

The first-ever image of a supermassive black hole.

Credit: EHT collaboration

A yearslong effort by dozens of researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole.

The inaugural #HarvardHearsYou Summit for Gender Equity includes a daylong conversation about equity among faculty, students, and guests, and features a closing panel with actress Laverne Cox, fashion designer Christian Siriano, fashion blogger Nicolette Mason, and culture expert Jess Weiner, CEO of Talk to Jess.

The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program marks its fifth year with the announcement of the 2019 class of 32 fellows, including Raj Chetty, the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics, and Weatherhead Center Director Michèle Lamont, professor of sociology and African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies.

May 2019

Alice Hill ’81, Ph.D. ’91, is named president of the Harvard Alumni Association.

U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith ’94 is awarded the 2019 Harvard Arts Medal by President Bacow.

Alvin Poussaint sitting in a chair

Alvin Poussaint.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

Alvin Poussaint, founding director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs and associate dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs, retires after 50 years at Harvard Medical School.

Paola Arlotta, Golub Family Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology; Suzannah Clark, professor of music; Edward J. Hall, Norman E. Vuilleumier Professor of Philosophy; Edward W. Kohler Jr., Microsoft Professor of Computer Science; and Matthew K. Nock, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology are named Harvard College Professors. The five-year appointments provide extra support for research or scholarly activities.

Jane Pickering is named the William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. She will begin her five-year term on July 1.