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Statement from President Lawrence H. Summers on Knowles Transition

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

As he announced today, Dean Jeremy Knowles has decided to return to the Faculty at the close of this academic year. I want to add a brief word about Jeremy and his invaluable service to Harvard.

For more than a decade, Dean Knowles has led our Faculty of Arts and Sciences with a constant devotion to the highest standards of academic quality and the highest ideals of the university. By virtually any measure–its faculty and students, its array of academic programs, its resources for learning, and others–the FAS is even stronger now than before. For Harvard, Jeremy has been an extraordinarily incisive, energetic, and effective leader at the heart of our academic enterprise. For me personally, he has been a wise and generous freshman adviser. I have come greatly to value his counsel, his friendship, and his strong sense of academic values, and I hope to benefit further from all of those in the months and years to come.

Jeremy once suggested, with characteristically self-effacing wit, that “deans don’t make an imprint any more than gardeners trample on flower beds.” But our Faculty of Arts and Sciences has flowered during the past decade, in ways that bear the lasting imprint of a remarkably nimble and dedicated dean. The seeds he has planted, working with so many of you, will help sustain Harvard for generations. For that and more, we owe him our deepest thanks.

Obviously, identifying a successor to Dean Knowles will be a matter of high priority. I will want to consult carefully as the process unfolds, and I will be in further touch about this important search in the time ahead.

For now, I hope that all of you will join me in thanking and congratulating Jeremy for all he has done, and will continue to do, for Harvard.


Lawrence H. Summers