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Harvard Business School Campaign Celebration, Remarks by Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers

Boston, Massachusetts

Howard, thank you very much for that generous introduction, and thank you very much for all that you did in leading this campaign. We all owe a great debt to Howard Stevenson.

As Howard was the first to acknowledge, a campaign like this is the work of many, many people. And I want to especially recognize Donella Rapier, Christine Fairchild, Mal Salter, and especially — and in some ways most importantly — all the many people whose names I cannot mention, but who are the reasons why this campaign has come off so well. Thank you to all the staff people who made this possible.

Because it is my task to introduce him later, I will say at this time only a brief thank you to Dick Spangler, for all that you have done.

To those of us who have lived closely with the Business School this year, it was a year of challenge with Kim Clark gone. But I can tell you that it is a year of challenges being met. Thank you, Jay Light.

This is a very different institution, in ways that I will try to describe in just a moment, than it was 10 years ago. That is a tribute to every student who has passed through these doors. It is a tribute to the remarkable faculty of this School. But above all, it is a tribute to the person who has done such an extraordinary job of leading this institution over the last decade. Thank you Dean, now President, Kim Clark.

It is not easy to produce a campaign as good as this School is, but all of you have led us to a campaign result as good as this School is. Thank you to all the supporters of Harvard Business School.

Over the last few months, I have had my own transformative experience in many, many ways. The aspect of my experience that I wish to describe on this occasion is that of getting to know this School. As I have had the chance to meet with many groups of faculty and students and alumni leaders, and to have conversations with many, many individuals who cared deeply about the future of this institution, it is abundantly clear that this School is extremely fortunate to have such a reservoir of concerned and capable people who care so very deeply for its future.

I am grateful for all that they have taught me and shown me about this remarkable institution, and what it has done over the last decade, and what it is working to do over the next decade. You have expanded the School’s range of vision to include a focus on social enterprise, and the many, many ways in which business organizations can create not just economic capital, but social capital, in our society and societies around the world. You have redoubled your commitment to scholarship, and learning about ethics and corporate responsibility, at a time when such concerns are so especially salient.

You have not just recognized and talked about globalization, but have begun to seize the opportunities globalization presents with research centers on four continents, and a third of your faculty and student faculty coming from abroad. Beginning from Day One of Kim Clark’s Deanship, you have pursued aggressively innovative uses of information technology to the great benefit of the School and its students. You renew, everyday, the distinctive sense of community and camaraderie that exists among students of this school, and that makes so many of its graduates feel so very much a part of HBS long after their final exam.

In a manner that is so gratifying to someone whose job as President of an institution not always famous for a culture of collaboration, you have opened the way to important new intellectual connections with other parts of Harvard, as Kim Clark said he would do. You have brought down the drawbridge across the Charles River, with programs like the public education leadership project, the new combined MD/MBA program, and much, much more.

The particulars matter, but what matters even more is the emergence of a palpable spirit of engagement, a deep interest in how Harvard’s expanding future on the Allston side of the Charles will benefit not just the Business School, but this entire University. For all of this and much, much more, Harvard University is grateful to its Business School. Harvard University is a much stronger, more vibrant, and more intellectually creative institution, for all that its Business School contributes.

There are a number of people who you want to hear from this evening, so I will bring this to a close, but not without saying a word about Dick Spangler. Many people have ideas and dreams and visions, but without your help, and especially without Dick’s help, they would be little more than just dreams. Dick loves the Harvard Business School, and Dick is a very practical man. When Dick Spangler received the ultimate call from Kim Clark, he was there, and he knocked it out of the park. For this remarkable Center, but even more for all of his leadership, all of us owe a profound debt of gratitude to Dick Spangler.