Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Earlier today, Diane Lopez announced her plans to retire as the University’s vice president and general counsel, following three decades of extraordinary service to Harvard.
Diane has brought to all she does not just keen intelligence but sound judgment, not just a strong devotion to principle but a thoughtful sense of pragmatism, not just a capacious understanding of the law but a deep appreciation for Harvard as an academic institution and a human community. Since joining the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in 1994, she has expertly handled an exceptional variety of legal matters and has helped guide Harvard through innumerable challenges with an incisive mind and a steady hand. Her legal practice has ranged across such diverse domains as health care and research policy, student affairs and faculty matters, the regulation of human subjects research and the accessibility of online resources, technology transfer and digital privacy, safeguarding opportunities for international students and seeking to sustain Harvard’s ability to admit a diverse student body, to name just some of her areas of focus. Whatever the object of her attention, she has always kept Harvard’s mission in mind and has always given advice with an eye toward strengthening the enterprise of education and research.
I am especially grateful to Diane for her leadership in building such an able and impressive team in the Office of the General Counsel, as well as her partnership during my years as a dean and in this first year of my presidency. I know I speak for many colleagues across Harvard, present and past, when I express my thanks for the wise advice she has offered, for the solutions to problems she has addressed, and for the collegiality with which she has approached her roles—first as a university attorney, then as deputy general counsel, and most recently as vice president and general counsel. Her contributions, which you can read more about in the Harvard Gazette, have been invaluable, and we will miss her.
I will be taking steps soon to launch a search for Diane’s successor, including the appointment of an advisory committee to help guide the process. Meanwhile, I am pleased to say that one of Diane’s most respected colleagues in the OGC, Eileen Finan, has agreed to serve as interim general counsel from March 1 until a new vice president and general counsel takes office. Eileen has served with dedication and distinction since joining the OGC in 1997. I have worked closely with her in the past, and I’m very grateful for her willingness to step in. Her wide-ranging legal experience, her integrity and professionalism, and the trust she has earned from colleagues across Harvard promise to serve the University well in the interval between Diane’s departure and the arrival of her eventual successor.
For today, I hope you will join me in congratulating Diane Lopez for her remarkable service to all of us and in wishing her all the best as she looks ahead to her retirement.
P.S. Advice and nominations regarding the search for a new vice president and general counsel may be sent, in confidence, to email@example.com.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,