Bonnie Talbert, David Elmer named faculty deans of Eliot House

David Elmer and Bonnie Talbert.

Eliot House Faculty Deans Bonnie Talbert and David Elmer with their children and dog Noodle. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

3 min read

Bonnie Talbert and David Elmer have been named the new faculty deans of Eliot House, Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana announced today. They will start their roles July 1.  

Talbert is the interim director of the Harvard College Women’s Center. Elmer is the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature and chair of the Department of the Classics. 

“Bonnie and David are deeply valued members of the College community, and I am thrilled to appoint them as the new faculty deans at Eliot House,” Khurana said. “The House system is a core component of the undergraduate experience at Harvard and the faculty deans play a key role among many talented staff who make our House system so special.” 

Elmer came to Harvard from Cleveland as a member of the College Class of 1998, earning his degree in Classics. After a year spent studying folklore in Croatia as a Shaw Fellow, he returned to Harvard for his Ph.D. in comparative literature. He enjoyed frequent meals in Eliot as a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows before joining the faculty in 2007. As department chair, Elmer has led efforts to develop a more global, inclusive vision for the study of Greco-Roman antiquity. A former jazz DJ at WHRB, he is a surfing enthusiast and avid practitioner of analog photography. He looks forward to making good use of the Eliot darkroom. 

Talbert came to Harvard in 2009 after finishing her Ph.D. at Columbia, where she taught courses in the Departments of Philosophy, the Core Curriculum, and the Academic Success Program (an FGLI pre-matriculation program). At Harvard, she has taught Engaged Scholarship courses on restorative justice and altruism, Social Studies 10, and a summer school study abroad course with Elmer on the philosophy and literature of conflict in the Balkans. She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from Texas Christian University. She also serves as a volunteer for Communities for Restorative Justice and as a Peace Commissioner for the city of Cambridge.  

“We look forward to immersing ourselves wholly and enthusiastically in the life of the House,” Talbert and Elmer said. “We commit to leading collaboratively and with empathy, and to working as hard as we can to foster a caring, supportive community in which all Eliotites can flourish.” 

The couple will live in Eliot with their daughter Rosie, son Nat, and dog Noodle. 

In his message to the community, Khurana thanked outgoing Faculty Deans Stephanie Paulsell and Kevin Madigan, who will stay in their roles until the end of the Spring semester, for “creating four magical years for the Eliot community.”