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President Faust affirms commitment to Allston

Cambridge, Mass.

I was quite surprised to awake to a front-page headline in Wednesday’s (Dec. 12) Boston Globe declaring “Harvard Rethinks Allston.” Let me be clear: Harvard is not “rethinking” Allston. I am unequivocally committed to moving aggressively and ambitiously forward, and to making our unfolding plans a reality.

Our Allston properties represent a historic opportunity for both the University and the community. As we look forward, we are advancing from a high-level planning framework to a phase in which we will be making increasingly refined judgments about how to elaborate our ideas and make them real. We plan to start construction very soon on our first science complex, which will house vital new initiatives at the leading edge of discovery. We are stepping up our planning for other parts of our enterprise that we envision will make their future home in Allston, focusing on the same broad mix of uses — professional schools, the arts, science, housing, athletics, and so forth — that we identified several years ago.

We are working continually to ensure that our physical plans are driven by our most thoughtful and creative academic aspirations, not just for Allston but for the University more generally — and that we have a sound financial plan underlying them. We are intently planning for the transportation and other infrastructure improvements essential to having our extended campus thrive. And we continue to consult regularly with key constituencies, both inside and outside the University, as we move from concept toward reality. All these activities are just what one should envision for an undertaking so complex — and so extraordinarily important.

Harvard’s extended campus in Allston will be built not in a day, but over decades. Our challenge at each stage will be to make progressive judgments that propel us forward while recognizing that this will be a decades-long process. Allston remains a paramount priority for me and for Harvard, and we are fully committed to making the most of it.

– Drew Gilpin Faust