Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
Earlier today, Katie Lapp announced her decision to step down as executive vice president this summer. She will be succeeded by Meredith Weenick, who has served as vice president for campus services since 2014.
Katie has made a profound difference at Harvard since her arrival in 2009, deftly leading our administrative, business, and operational efforts through times of transition, uncertainty, and upheaval. In the wake of the Great Recession, she brought renewed focus and discipline to the work of planning and budgeting across the University, putting the institution on surer financial footing as she shored up our approach to risk and emergency management. In the face of the pandemic, she brought clarity and conviction, inspiring senior leaders to think creatively about how to preserve and advance our mission despite an ever-changing landscape. In the years between, she led planning and development in Allston, oversaw progress towards our sustainability goals, and ensured the excellence of our capital planning, our human resources, and our information technology, among many other achievements. There is not a part of Harvard untouched by her outstanding service.
Yet there is something more to Katie that I believe truly distinguishes her. Throughout my presidency, and especially since March 2020, she has demonstrated a level of grit and determination that has inspired everyone around her. Our community would not be in as good a shape as we are now without her steady hand and constant effort, by which I mean an unfailing and unflinching dedication to everything in her purview. Campus lore includes stories of her walking through the Yard unobserved—or so she thought!—and stopping to pick up litter in her path. That gesture of care is emblematic of her character and one of the many reasons I will miss being her colleague.
As she improved the University in countless ways, Katie also built tremendous leadership capacity within her office, which meant that I did not have to go far afield as I contemplated appointing her successor. For the past eight years, Meredith has done an extraordinary job managing an expanding portfolio of operations, including energy, facilities, and transportation. She has built strong relationships within and beyond Harvard that will enable the work of the executive vice president’s office to continue apace, and I am thrilled that she has agreed to serve her alma mater in a new role.
Please join me in thanking Katie for her many contributions to our community—and in congratulating Meredith on her appointment. They are true citizens and stewards of Harvard, and we are all in their debt.
All the best,
P.S. For more, please see the related Harvard Gazette story.