Campus & Community

Rubenstein to step down from Harvard Corporation

‘Brought a remarkable range of qualities and experience to the Corporation’

4 min read
David M. Rubenstein

David Rubenstein

David M. Rubenstein plans to step down from the Harvard Corporation on June 30, after a six-year term that began in 2017. A widely experienced trustee for an array of educational and cultural institutions, Rubenstein was elected last year to become chair of the University of Chicago’s board of trustees.

Rubenstein is and will remain the founding chair of Harvard’s Global Advisory Council, and is one of the University’s most active volunteer leaders. A prominent figure in finance and philanthropy, he is co-founder and co-chair of the Carlyle Group, a global investment firm based in Washington, D.C.

“My time on the Corporation has been a wonderful and memorable chapter of my engagement with Harvard,” Rubenstein said. “Working with this group of smart, dedicated colleagues to advance the University’s essential mission has been both an education and a pleasure. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Harvard in other ways, and to helping support the University’s work at the leading edge of research, education, and opportunity.”

“One of the best things board members can do is ask probing questions about difficult issues in constructive ways, and David Rubenstein is a master of that craft,” said President Larry Bacow. “It’s been a privilege serving with him on the Corporation, and both his wisdom and his wit have greatly enhanced our deliberations. I’m deeply grateful for his service, his counsel, and his generous support not just of Harvard but of universities and cultural institutions nationwide.”

“David has brought a remarkable range of qualities and experience to the Corporation, as someone with a deep understanding of leadership, finance, culture, media, politics, public service, and international affairs,” said Penny Pritzker, senior fellow of the Corporation. “He is one of a kind. We will miss his many contributions to the Corporation, but I’m confident that Harvard will continue to benefit from his perspective and counsel.”

As a member of the Corporation, Rubenstein has served on the Corporation committee on finance and more recently on the committee on facilities and capital planning, as well as the joint committee on alumni affairs and development. Beyond his Corporation service, he serves in a variety of other roles across Harvard, including as founding chair of the Global Advisory Council, chair of the Harvard Kennedy School Dean’s Executive Board, and as a member of the Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors.

Rubenstein played a critical role in the major transformation of Harvard Kennedy School’s complex of buildings in recent years, and the Rubenstein Building at HKS now serves as home to the Center for International Development and other programs. More recently, the University announced plans for the David Rubenstein Treehouse, the first-ever University-wide conference center, which will serve as a universally accessible “front door” to welcome visitors to Harvard’s envisioned Enterprise Research Campus in Allston.

Rubenstein’s close involvement with leading nonprofit institutions includes service as chair of the boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Gallery of Art, and as president of the Economic Club of Washington. Past chair of the board of Duke University, he also serves on the boards of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Constitution Center, the Brookings Institution, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the World Economic Forum.

A graduate of Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School, he was co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group from 1987 to 2017, before becoming co-executive chairman in 2017 and stepping away from the day-to-day leadership of the firm.

A member of the American Philosophical Society, he is host of Bloomberg TV’s “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer to Peer Conversations,” which features his interviews with a wide array of leaders. He is also the author of several books, including “How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers” (2016), “The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians” (2019), “The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream” (2021), and “How to Invest: Masters on the Craft” (2022).

Known especially for his “patriotic philanthropy,” Rubenstein has made numerous high-impact gifts to restore and repair national historic monuments and buildings, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, Monticello, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Arlington House, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A search will begin soon for Rubenstein’s successor on the Corporation. Nominations and advice regarding future Corporation appointments may be sent in confidence to