Skip to main content

A Message from the President: Monday’s Events in Boston

Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community:

Yesterday was a day of unspeakable sadness for all of us in and around Boston, and for everyone gathered to celebrate what has been for so many years a great day on the calendar of a great city.

As is by now well known, at approximately 2:50 p.m., two explosions occurred in close succession near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Many people are still being treated at area hospitals, but news reports suggest that three people have died and more than 130 others were injured, many of them seriously.  The Harvard community joins in sending our heartfelt condolences to the families touched by this terrible tragedy.

This year, like most years, there were more than 100 Harvard students, faculty, staff, and alumni among the runners, and countless friends and family members among the spectators.  Many of the members of our community who participated in the marathon have confirmed their safety, but we know at least one staff member and some friends and family are wounded and being treated at area hospitals.  Those seeking information about people affected by the event can call the mayor’s hotline at (617) 635-4500.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all the first responders who aided the injured, secured the scene, and diverted runners to a safer route, and to all of the emergency responders who treated and transported the injured.  Their quick action undoubtedly saved many lives.  I also want to extend our deepest thanks to the dedicated physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals—many of them Harvard-trained or -affiliated—who have worked with extraordinary skill and heroism to treat patients with injuries more commonly seen in a war zone.  These medical teams worked throughout the evening and overnight in very challenging circumstances, demonstrating why Boston is admired around the world for the quality of its hospitals and excellence of its health-care professionals.

There were rumors and reports about suspicious packages in Cambridge yesterday, but none of them were ultimately cause for concern.  The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD), working in close coordination with external law enforcement agencies, is aware of no threats made against the Harvard campus.  As a precaution, the enhanced police and security presence that began yesterday will continue today.  If you see anything out of the ordinary, please contact the HUPD at (617) 495-1212.

Several resources are available to members of the University community seeking support.  The Harvard University Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is available to staff 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, and can be reached at 1 (877) 327-4278.  Harvard University Health Services clinicians are also available to assist students, faculty, and staff with any counseling or mental health concerns.  Please call (617) 495-2042 to speak with someone or to schedule an appointment.

The Boston Marathon is an event that demands resilience.  As we struggle to make sense of yesterday’s events, I urge all of us to draw on the strength of the Harvard community and the support of colleagues and friends.


Drew Faust