Portrait of former Harvard Chan School Acting Dean David Hunter unveiled

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A crowd of faculty, staff, and students gathered at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Sept. 6, 2017 for the unveiling of a portrait of David Hunter, Vincent L. Gregory Professor in Cancer Prevention, Emeritus and former Dean for Academic Affairs and Acting Dean.

The event was held in the Kresge Building’s Rosenau Atrium, where the walls are lined with portraits of Harvard Chan School’s past deans as well as a series of “Ghost Portraits”—black and white portraits of notable African Americans and Native Americans in public health who were accomplished in their careers but minimized in history.

After the portrait by artist Stephen Craighead was unveiled, Hunter discarded his blazer to reveal that he was wearing the same blue shirt and tie that was depicted in the painting. He posed next to it, eliciting laughter and applause.

Hunter was appointed Dean for Academic Affairs in 2009, and served as Acting Dean in 2015-16.

Dean Michelle Williams thanked Hunter for his many years of service at the School, which included serving as director of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention from 1997-2003 and as founding director of Harvard Chan School’s Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology (now called the Program in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics). Hunter’s research focuses on the nutritional, environmental, and genetic causes of cancer.

Hunter has joined the faculty at Oxford University, where he plans to launch a collaboration between Oxford and the Harvard Chan School in epidemiology.

“The truly wonderful thing about the School of Public Health is its people—faculty, staff students,” Hunter told the crowd. “We may not always agree on what is the most important thing in public health. We may not always agree on the strategy to improve public health. But we always agree on the importance and centrality of the mission.”

Karen Feldscher