Harvard alumni elected five new members to the Board of Overseers — the University’s second-highest governing body — including one candidate backed by the climate action and racial justice campaign Harvard Forward.
The newly-elected members include Mark J. Carney ’87, the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance; Christopher B. Howard, the president of Robert Morris University; Raymond J. Lohier Jr. ’88, a U.S. Circuit Judge; Megan H. Red Shirt-Shaw, an Indigenous activist; and Sheryl WuDunn, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
“It will be a privilege to welcome our new colleagues to the Board, and I know their diverse perspectives and experience will serve us well,” incoming Board president Helena Buonanno Foulkes ’86 said in a press release.
Harvard Forward had put forth three candidates for election, all of whom qualified for the ballot via a petition process, but Red Shirt-Shaw was the only one elected. All other elected candidates were put up by the Harvard Alumni Association’s alumni nominating committee.
Due to fall 2020 reforms to the Board, only six petition-nominated members may serve at a time. Three candidates backed by Harvard Forward won seats on the Board in 2020, meaning Red Shirt-Shaw brings the current tally up to four.
Three of the five incoming Board of Overseers members — Carney, Lohier, and WuDunn — were endorsed by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an alumni group seeking to improve diversity at the University that advocates for the creation of an ethnic studies program and improved hiring and retention of diverse faculty.
The school announced the election results just hours after the conclusion of its virtual Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021.
“This past year has confronted Harvard with an unprecedented set of challenges, and I look forward to a new academic year when the governing boards can help the University emerge from the pandemic with the benefit of lessons learned and with a commitment to helping make Harvard stronger than ever,” Buonanno Foulkes said in the release.
The University also announced six new elected directors of the Harvard Alumni Association, including Whitney S. F. Baxter ’07, an executive at MTV; Jane Labanowski ’17, lead of Spaceport development at SpaceX; Hannah Park ’13, a human resources partner at Curriculum Associates; Rebecca C. Ribaudo ’93, an author; George A. Thampy ’10, an executive at CareDx; and Maiya W. Verrone ’84, a television writer and producer.
“The volunteers joining us will strengthen our efforts to connect, support and empower the global community of Harvard graduates who are serving their communities and who continue the centuries-long tradition of using their talents to help others,” incoming HAA president Vanessa W. Liu ’96 said in a press release.
The directors election saw a higher turnout than the Board of Overseers election, with 39,542 and 38,211 alumni casting ballots, respectively. Those elected to the Board will serve six-year terms, while the HAA directors will be elected for three years.
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