As the academic year approaches its Commencement finale, we are already anticipating the public launch of the University campaign soon after the students return in September. The process of preparing for a campaign is one that focuses us on defining our future. For the past several years, we have been engaged within each School and across the University as we have considered both what we wish to accomplish in specific fields and what we can imagine and achieve when we harness the broader power of one Harvard.
Faculty and staff have worked with deans to identify aspirations. The deans have shared with one another the ambitions articulated within their School communities in order to explore larger domains of common—often University-wide—opportunity. A campaign planning committee composed of some of Harvard’s most devoted alumni and friends has worked with me, the provost, and the deans to translate our needs and our dreams into campaign priorities that we can be ready to present to potential donors. The governing boards are helping to define, assess, and refine our goals.
You will hear a great deal in the months and years to come about The Harvard Campaign. It offers us an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen each School and to work together across School boundaries in pursuit of larger common purposes.
Based on the premise that Harvard’s highest aim is the pursuit of the truth and knowledge that can create a better future, several overarching principles will shape our fundraising efforts for The Harvard Campaign:
1. Harvard is dedicated to the generation of new knowledge, which will increasingly be discovered at the intersection of disciplines.
As a university, we will advance discovery and learning across Schools and disciplines, across the natural and social sciences and humanities, in order to capture the potential of integrated knowledge. We will seek to enable students and faculty to draw easily on Harvard’s widely distributed strength as they explore intellectual questions both enduring and new and seek solutions to society’s most consequential problems.
2. Nurturing talent and leadership requires investment.
We must attract and support the most talented students and faculty and provide them with the resources to do their best work. We must sustain the remarkable community of researchers, teachers, learners, and staff who are at once Harvard’s engine and its heart.
3. Teaching and learning can be improved with new understanding and tools.
We will pioneer new approaches to teaching and learning that build on emerging insights into human behavior and the human brain, as well as the transformative potential of the digital age. We aspire to set a standard for innovation in pedagogy.
4. Knowledge and learning are increasingly global.
We will enhance our global reach and impact, as well as the integration of global perspectives into our research and teaching. We will ensure that Harvard students and faculty can understand their fields and their lives within a global context enriched by the content of the curriculum, the cosmopolitan nature of our campus, and the opportunities for significant international research, study, and engagement.
5. Deep explorations of civilizations and values, born of unbridled curiosity, are as vital to our future as to our past.
We will affirm the centrality of meaning, values, and creativity in the mission of the research university. In all it undertakes, Harvard must transcend the immediate and instrumental to explore and understand what humans have thought and done in order to imagine where they might best seek to go.
6. Hands-on discovery fuels innovation and creativity.
We must offer more prominence to the hands-on discovery inherent in both engineering and the arts, as well as to experience-based learning beyond the classroom. Building on its nearly four centuries of rigorous intellectual inquiry, Harvard must embrace these critical components of thinking and knowing.
7. Our physical campus must embody our mission and aspirations.
We will create a campus for Harvard’s next century—the physical environment to fulfill our ambitions and goals. It must provide the common spaces to enable the intellectual and programmatic vision of one Harvard. We must also revitalize our Houses and other spaces that make our Cambridge campus unique, and expand our campus boundaries to accommodate new buildings, new ventures, and new collaborations across the Charles River in Allston.
These principles, and the specific goals they lead us to pursue, will propel Harvard towards its fifth century of intellectual distinction, enabling us to solve pressing problems, to educate leaders, and to generate ideas that meet the complexities of our times. I look forward to working with all of you on The Harvard Campaign—to build a still better Harvard and to help build a better world.