Anoushka Chander ’25 (center) sings onstage

Anoushka Chander ’25 (center) performs with the student band Charles Revival as part of the festivities commemorating Claudine Gay’s inauguration.

Niles Singer/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Cloudy, wet, and muddy, but mood was sunny, warm

4 min read

Well-wishers braved it to share historic moment, excitement, celebrate it all in Yard

Following the inauguration ceremony for newly minted University President Claudine Gay, a slightly soggy crowd made their way back to Harvard Yard amid the mud and the rain to celebrate Friday evening.

The Gazette caught up with a few of the partygoers as they enjoyed the music, the spread laid out by the University, and the food truck fare, to hear their thoughts about the day’s events.

Jasleen Kaur, a third-year from Long Island with concentrations in physics and math, was one of the Bhangra dancers who led Gay’s processional. She had never done traditional dance before College.

President Claudine Gay gives the thumbs up sign to the performers of Charles Revival,

Gay gives the Charles Revival band a thumbs up.

Niles Singer/Harvard Staff Photographer

“Most of our team has never danced before, so it’s a super inclusive environment,” she said.

“It was an honor a) to just spread smiles and b) to be requested in this type of event. To be a South Asian dance group and to be asked to perform is a huge honor … We just wanted to be ‘hype,’ and we wanted to celebrate today, and that’s what Bhangra is really about.”

Veronica Leahy ’23 led a group of student, alumni, and Berklee musicians playing one of her original compositions during the inauguration procession. Grabbing a quick bite afterward, she said she enjoyed the opportunity and was excited for the president’s future tenure.

“I think we found a really awesome group of musicians, and we were just up there jamming out and having a lot of fun,” she said. “I can tell she really cares. She wants to get to know people. And so that makes me really excited.”

Ebonée Green Ed.L.D.’23, a first-year proctor and teaching fellow at the Graduate School of Education, came out in the rain with one of her former first-years to celebrate the historic event.

Jasleen Kaur ’25.

Jasleen Kaur ’25 was one of the the Banghra dancers who led the processional. Showing their Haitian pride were Marc Alain Boucicault, M.P.A. ’23, and tech entrepreneur Nancy Douyon.

Photos by Dylan Goodman

“It is amazing to watch someone be elected president who was never intended to be a student here,” she said. “I’m a first-generation student. I never imagined that I would even go to Harvard, much less work at Harvard. I’m just overwhelmed.”

Her former student, Leticia Sefia, a junior studying cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology with a secondary in computer science, said she sees a lot of herself in Gay, as both are children of immigrants.

“As a Black woman, it’s just so incredible to have somebody who looks like me, from a similar background from me, achieve so much. It’s such an inspiration to be in her presence, to be a part of the ceremony and I just wish her the best,” said Sefia, whose parents came from Nigeria.

Leticia Sefia and Ebonee Green laughing under umbrella.

“It’s such an inspiration to be in her presence, to be a part of the ceremony,” said Leticia Sefia ’25 (left), who shared a laugh and an umbrella with teaching fellow and first-year proctor Ebonée Green Ed.L.D.’23.

Photo by Dylan Goodman

Also representing Haitian pride was a group of strangers who came together to celebrate the president and their shared culture. Recent Harvard intern Taëlle Ruthdjina Chéry; first-year Harvard Medical School graduate student in Global Health Delivery Milady Auguste; tech entrepreneur Nancy Douyon; and Marc Alain Boucicault, M.P.A. ’23, met in the audience Friday to cheer on Gay.

“The Haitians came in with the flood to be able to celebrate,” Alain Boucicault said. “Her speech really resonated with the moment where we are, and that’s the type of spirit that needs to be coming out of Harvard. And as a nation, I am double, triple proud to be able to witness something like this because it throws me into the future of what’s possible for people.”