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2013 Year-End Message from President Faust

Cambridge, Mass.

On the Web: Harvard University—The Year in Pictures, 2012-2013

Dear Members of the Harvard Community:

Despite unseasonably warm weather, throngs of alumni and friends filled Tercentenary Theatre for Commencement. The Morning Exercises were punctuated by welcome levity and the Afternoon Exercises energized by Oprah Winfrey’s inspiring speech. It was an especially joyful day, reminding us of the strength of the Harvard community, of the heartening diversity of human endeavor, and of the importance of enabling the never-ending pursuit of knowledge.

The continued consideration of how people learn and how people teach is essential to achieving that aim, and we have made notable progress in this area over the past year. The Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching distributed nearly 50 grants to support innovation and convened faculty from across the University to share best practices and promote discussion. At the same time, the edX platform, now a little more than a year old, is expanding and thriving. HarvardX courses have created opportunities to enhance the residential learning experience, attracted hundreds of thousands of learners, and prompted deliberations about the future of higher education on our campus and across the country.

The expansion and renewal of our campus on both sides of the river is under way, and we continue to make progress on projects that advance our work and enshrine our fundamental values. Development in Allston is moving forward, and the revitalization of the undergraduate Houses will continue this summer, with renovations commencing on Leverett’s McKinlock Hall and concluding on Old Quincy. The reconstruction of the Harvard Art Museums and the construction of Tata Hall continue apace, and the Graduate School of Education recently received LEED Platinum certification for its environmentally friendly update of the Gutman Library. We also continue to create common spaces that build community through chance encounters, structured events, and everything in between. The Science Center Plaza and “The Porch” at Memorial Church have been transformed into inviting destinations for members of the community.

We welcomed new academic leaders throughout the year. James Ryan was appointed dean of the Graduate School of Education. In the FAS, Xiao-Li Meng became dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Huntington D. Lambert will become dean of the Division of Continuing Education, succeeding Michael Shinagel, the longest-serving dean in University history. We also welcomed Leah Rosovsky as vice president for strategy and programs, and Sarah Thomas will join Harvard in August as vice president for the Harvard Library. Jessica Tuchman Mathews and Theodore V. Wells, Jr. joined the Corporation in January, and James W. Breyer will join in July, fulfilling the expansion plan central to governance reforms.

Over the past academic year, we faced change and challenge, and celebrated successes together. Students and faculty won important recognition, including seven Rhodes Scholarships, two MacArthur Fellowships, and one Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Jorie Graham was awarded the coveted Forward Prize for Place, her 12th collection of poetry, and Eric S. Maskin and Cass Sunstein were named University Professors. Under the direction of Diane Paulus, the beloved musical Pippin returned to Broadway after a run at the American Repertory Theater and just this weekend won four Tony AwardsIn these instances and in so many others, I witnessed proudly your accomplishments. I look forward to moments next year that will draw us together even more closely as we officially launch The Harvard Campaign in September and celebrate all that Harvard is and all that it can be.

With best wishes,
Drew Faust