Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

On behalf of Harvard’s governing boards, I write to invite your advice on the search for a new president of Harvard University.

As you know, Drew Faust recently announced her plans to step down as president at the end of the 2017–18 academic year. She has served Harvard with extraordinary distinction and devotion, guiding the University with a rare combination of vision and energy, aspiration and inspiration, wisdom and grace. Thanks to her remarkable leadership, Harvard is a stronger, more innovative, and more cohesive institution, as well as a more open, inclusive, and forward-looking community. As she enters her final year in Massachusetts Hall, it is now our task to identify a worthy successor.

As those of us on the presidential search committee pursue that consequential effort, we would be pleased to hear from you. In particular, we hope you will share your perspectives on:


the principal opportunities and challenges likely to face Harvard and higher education in the coming years and the priorities that our new president should have most in mind;


the qualities and experience most important in the next president;


any individuals you believe warrant serious consideration as possible candidates.

As in past Harvard presidential searches, we will be seeking a person of high intellectual distinction, with proven qualities of leadership, a devotion to excellence in education and research, a capacity to guide a complex institution through times of change, a commitment to advance progress and collaboration across a wide span of academic domains, and a dedication to the ideals and values central to a community of learning.

Under the University’s charter, it is the responsibility of the Harvard Corporation to elect a new president, with the counsel and consent of the Board of Overseers. Consistent with past practice, the search committee will comprise the members of the Corporation other than the president, together with three Overseers. In addition, to inform our deliberations, we will be appointing several advisory committees—of faculty, students, and staff. With their help, we will be gathering input from a wider array of faculty, students, and staff, as well as from alumni, leaders in higher education, and others well-positioned to offer thoughtful counsel. Our intention is to reach out broadly to benefit from both general advice and specific nominations.

Your responses to this letter will play an essential part in advancing our work. We hope you will take the time to share your perspectives with us. Please e-mail your thoughts to, or address correspondence to the Harvard University Presidential Search Committee, Loeb House, 17 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. The committee will hold your replies in confidence.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we thank you in advance for your counsel.


William F. Lee
Senior Fellow, Harvard Corporation

Members of the Presidential Search Committee:
Scott A. Abell, Lawrence S. Bacow, James W. Breyer, Susan L. Carney, Kenneth I. Chenault, Paul J. Finnegan, Susan L. Graham, William F. Lee (chair), Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Karen Gordon Mills, Joseph J. O’Donnell, Tracy P. Palandjian, David M. Rubenstein, Shirley M. Tilghman, Theodore V. Wells, Jr.