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New Vice President and General Counsel

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

I am delighted to announce that Jennifer O’Connor will serve as Harvard’s next vice president and general counsel, starting July 29.

Jennifer is a nationally recognized attorney and leader with decades of experience in both the public and private sectors. She will join Harvard from Northrop Grumman, where she is currently Vice President of Technology and Information Law and Policy. Over the course of her career, she has gained extensive experience within large and complex organizations that are subject to close public scrutiny. She came to Northrop Grumman after serving as General Counsel for the Department of Defense, where she was both the chief legal officer of the Department and the principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Defense. She has served in numerous other high-level roles in the White House Counsel’s Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Jennifer received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and her M.P.A. from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

As the University’s chief legal strategist, Jennifer will serve as a member of my senior leadership team and will lead an outstanding group of attorneys and legal professionals in the Office of the General Counsel. I look forward to working with her to advance the University’s interests at a time when higher education faces many legal, regulatory, and political challenges. Widely admired among her colleagues for her collaborative style, strategic insight, and dedication to public service, she brings with her an abiding commitment to Harvard and its mission. Her unique combination of talent and experience will serve the University well at a pivotal moment for higher education.

I am grateful to the many members of the Harvard community who offered their advice during the search. I am particularly appreciative of members of the search advisory committee, co-chaired by Catherine Claypoole, Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the Harvard Law School, and Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, Vice President for Human Resources, for the great care and attention they brought to the search process.

I also want to recognize and thank Eileen Finan, who has served as interim general counsel since March 1. I am immensely grateful for Eileen’s wise counsel, dedication, and generosity toward our entire community over these past months. We will continue to benefit from her service as she resumes her role as a University Attorney.

Please join me in congratulating Jennifer and in welcoming her back to Harvard.

Alan M. Garber

P.S. For more on Jennifer and her appointment, please see the Gazette.