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Campus & Community

Harvard begins search for 30th president

4 min read

Committee seeks input from across the community

Following Larry Bacow’s announcement last month that he plans to step down from the Harvard presidency at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, the Harvard Corporation has begun the search for the University’s 30th president.

In a message to the community on Thursday, Penny Pritzker ’81, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation and chair of the presidential search committee, outlined aspects of the process and encouraged faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others to convey their views to the committee on opportunities, challenges, and priorities ahead, as well as key qualities and experience to seek in the University’s next president. She said the committee also invites nominations of individuals who warrant serious consideration for the role.

“Important to our process of finding the University’s next president is hearing diverse views from across the Harvard community and beyond. We hope that many of you will share your thoughts,” she wrote.

Pritzker noted that advice and nominations may be sent to the search committee in any of three ways: by email to, by answering a set of questions posted online, or by sending a letter to the Harvard Presidential Search Committee, Loeb House, 17 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138. Responses will be held in confidence.

“Your replies will be an essential means for the search committee to develop an increasingly robust and nuanced picture of Harvard, its current trajectory, and its future aspirations — and a fully informed view of the leadership that can best serve the University in the years to come,” Pritzker wrote.

In accordance with the University’s charter, the Harvard Corporation will elect the new president, with the counsel and consent of the Board of Overseers. As in previous searches, the search committee includes the members of the Corporation other than the president, together with three members of the Board of Overseers. To help encourage and structure community input, the search committee will appoint and work with advisory committees of faculty, students, and staff, who will include representatives from across Harvard’s Schools. The committee also plans to consult with various alumni groups, leaders in higher education, and others in a position to offer thoughtful counsel. The broad outreach is intended to elicit a wide range of perspectives on Harvard and its future, and to ensure an inclusive pool of nominations.

“In this search, we will seek a person of high intellectual distinction, with proven qualities of leadership, a devotion to excellence in education and research, a capacity to guide a complex institution through times of change, a talent for advancing progress and collaboration across a wide span of domains, a commitment to embracing diversity along many dimensions as a source of strength, and a dedication to the ideals and values central to our community of learning,” Pritzker wrote.

She continued: “We aim to identify a president who, like past Harvard leaders, will bring not only a deep devotion to Harvard’s excellence, but also a passion for how Harvard — through its myriad programs and extraordinary people — can be a force for good in the world.”

The members of the presidential search committee are:

  • Timothy R. Barakett, A.B. ’87, M.B.A. ’93, chair, TRB Advisors;
  • Kenneth I. Chenault, J.D. ’76, chair and managing director, General Catalyst Partners, and former chair and CEO, American Express;
  • Paul Choi, A.B. ’86, J.D. ’89, partner, Sidley Austin LLP;
  • Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, president, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former justice, Supreme Court of California;
  • Paul J. Finnegan, A.B. ’75, M.B.A. ’82, co-CEO, Madison Dearborn Partners;
  • Carla A. Harris, A.B. ’84, M.B.A. ’87, senior client adviser, Morgan Stanley, and former chair, National Women’s Business Council;
  • Tyler Jacks, A.B. ’83, Koch Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and president, Break Through Cancer;
  • Carolyn (Biddy) Martin, president, Amherst College;
  • Karen Gordon Mills, A.B. ’75, M.B.A. ’77, former administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, senior fellow, Harvard Business School, and president, MMP Group;
  • Diana L. Nelson, A.B. ’84, co-chair, Carlson Holdings, and former chair, Carlson;
  • Tracy Pun Palandjian, A.B. ’93, M.B.A. ’97, CEO and co-founder, Social Finance;
  • Penny Pritzker (chair), A.B. ’81, founder and chair, PSP Partners, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce;
  • David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and non-executive co-chair, The Carlyle Group;
  • Shirley M. Tilghman, LL.D. ’04 (hon.), president emerita and professor of molecular biology and public affairs, Princeton University;
  • Theodore V. Wells Jr., J.D. ’76, M.B.A. ’76, partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.