Depending on whom you ask, the most photographed Harvard institution is either the John Harvard Statue, Massachusetts Hall, or Harvard University Police Department Officer Charles Marren.
“I might be more photographed than the statue,” said Marren with a grin.
Why, you ask? The 19-year police force veteran is tall, fit, very friendly, and very helpful. And then there’s that gleaming white HUPD Harley Davidson.
Marren was immortalized on a digital camera for Crystal Wang ’23 and her family on their tour of Harvard 15 years ago. She was 3 years old when her father, Jim, newly arrived from China, snapped a picture of her in the arms of Marren beside his bike. When she got into Harvard’s dual-degree program with Berklee College of Music last spring, the Houston native posted the 2004 photo on Instagram.
“My parents came to America to give me a better future,” said Wang, who doesn’t remember the photo session and didn’t even know the image existed until after she was accepted. “This was a glimpse into the future.”
Marren can be found simultaneously smiling for a tourist’s camera, directing flatbed trucks, and reminding overzealous bicyclists to obey Yard rules. He spent 15 years patrolling the Yard full time. These days, he can mostly be found in Longwood on the HMS/CSPH/HSDM campus, but Wang’s arrival at Harvard necessitated a reunion — and an updated photo.
“In your time here, if there’s anything you need, any issues you have in any way, let me know,” he said, standing beside Wang as a Gazette photographer captured new photos.