Sheehan D. Scarborough ’07 has been appointed as the senior director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair announced in a Wednesday email to students.
Scarborough previously served as the director for the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, and was appointed as the interim director for the Harvard Foundation in August 2019. In his new capacity, he will work under the incoming Associate Dean of Students for Inclusion and Belonging Alta Mauro, who is set to begin her tenure May 1.
O’Dair praised Scarborough’s past work at the College in her email announcing the appointment.
“I have had the chance to work closely with Sheehan during my time as dean of students, and I have seen firsthand the energy, enthusiasm and commitment he brings to our students and to the Harvard community every single day,” O’Dair wrote. “I know he will bring that same passion to the Harvard Foundation.”
The mission of the Harvard Foundation — founded in 1981 — is to “highlight the strength of our diversity,” according to the email. Past Foundation programming has included the Humanitarian Awards, Cultural Rhythms, and support for the Student Advisory Council.
In addition to the director of BGLTQ Student Life and the interim director of the Harvard Foundation, Scarborough has served as the assistant director of Student Services and as a proctor in the Freshman Dean’s Office, O’Dair wrote.
“In these roles, he has been instrumental in helping to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and the intersection of the multiple identities of students across all facets of the College and creating a welcoming environment for all members of our community,” she wrote.
Scarborough said in a Wednesday interview he plans to spend this summer “integrating” the Harvard Foundation and the Office of Diversity Education and Support — a division of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
“The first priority is identifying what this new structure is going to look like, and how do we ensure critical missions in both offices and the good work that they've been doing,” he said. “We get to capitalize on that and really raise the profile in a new, more effective organization.”
In Feb. 2019, the College announced that the Foundation would merge with the EDI Office after a re-evaluation of the Foundation’s role.
During his time with the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, Scarborough oversaw the office’s relocation to Grays Hall, and spearheaded the pilot program for gender-inclusive housing in freshman dorms. He also said serving as interim director for the Foundation informed him about the “real, immediate needs” for the Foundation.
“What I've learned in these roles is that you have to be present, you have to be visible, you have to be in communication with students, and you have to have a trusting relationship with them,” he said.
He also acknowledged the need to adapt to the remote nature of Dean of Students Office operations, and said he is focusing on how the office can connect to and support students virtually.
“We're going to need to be very creative in thinking about how to maintain networks of community,” he said. “How we do that virtually, remotely, that's the creative project for the next few months.”
—Staff writer Sydnie M. Cobb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cobbsydnie.
—Staff writer Declan J. Knieriem can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DeclanKnieriem.