Katherine O’Dair, currently dean of students at Harvard College, has been named the next University Marshal, President Larry Bacow announced on Wednesday.
“The University Marshal opens Harvard to the world, curating and orchestrating the experiences of visiting dignitaries and delegations, and impressing upon countless people both the extraordinary reach and the warm embrace of our institution,” Bacow said. “Given this charge, I can imagine no individual better suited to the role than Katie O’Dair. Her expertise and eagerness — her curiosity and resolve — will guarantee that all who find themselves in our midst come to know Harvard at its best. I hope you will join me in welcoming our new welcomer-in-chief.”
O’Dair arrived at Harvard in 2016. In her current role, she oversees Harvard’s residential and co-curricular experience, including first-year Yard life, the House system, student engagement, leadership, and the equity, diversity, and inclusion area. Before coming to Harvard, she served as associate vice president for student affairs at Boston College, where she oversaw health services, counseling services, and Title IX, and as assistant dean in the division of student life at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In a message to students, Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana joined Bacow in welcoming O’Dair to her new role.
“Katie’s commitment to our students has been indisputable, and a generation of students have benefited from her leadership,” Khurana said. He also highlighted her steady hand amid the disruptions of the pandemic. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, and most of our students were living and learning remotely, Katie brought a fierce determination to ensure that we provided a robust, meaningful experience for our students. Since then, her team has worked tirelessly to implement numerous move-ins and various ever-changing logistics and safety protocols, ensuring students had opportunities for socializing and space utilization.”
O’Dair was preceded in the role by Margot N. Gill, former administrative dean for international affairs in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who served on an interim basis until her retirement.
O’Dair will begin as University Marshal on Oct. 1.