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Four Harvard affiliates will receive the 2023 Harvard Medal for “extraordinary service” to the University, the Harvard Alumni Association announced last Thursday.
Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson ’80, former HAA Director Philip W. Lovejoy, businessman Antonio Madero, and federal judge Rya W. Zobel ’53 will be presented with medals during Harvard Alumni Day on June 2.
Awarded for the first time in 1981, the Harvard Medal seeks to recognize service in “as many different areas of University life as can be imagined,” including leadership, teaching, and fundraising, according to the HAA’s website.
Johnson, who has served as president of Wellesley since 2016, wrote in an emailed statement that it was “an honor to be recognized in this way, and to be in the company of such inspiring and accomplished pathbreakers, leaders and dedicated Harvard citizens.”
A graduate of Harvard College, Medical School, and the School of Public Health, Johnson was previously chief of the Division of Women’s Health and founding executive director of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Johnson also served as a professor in Women’s Health at HMS and a professor of epidemiology at HSPH.
“My mentors at Harvard helped to shape my trajectory in medicine and research and taught me I had a responsibility to question scientific paradigms,” she wrote. “I wanted to carry forward their commitment to educating those who would make a difference.”
Madero, a graduate of Harvard Business School, founded and served as president of the Fundación México en Harvard, which provides scholarships and loans to Mexican students attending Harvard’s graduate schools. He also helped create the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and established the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico.
Previously, Madero served on Harvard’s Committee on University Resources and the Regional Advisory Board for Latin America at HBS.
Zobel, a lawyer and federal judge, is a graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School.
Since graduating from Harvard, Zobel has served as a member of the Board of Overseers and on several visiting committees within the University, including in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Kennedy School, and Arnold Arboretum.
Zobel also presided over the trial of former Harvard chemistry professor Charles M. Lieber, who was convicted of lying to federal investigators over his ties to China in one of Harvard’s most high-profile court cases in recent history. She sentenced Lieber to six months of house arrest on Wednesday.
Lovejoy, a former executive director of the HAA and associate vice president of alumni affairs and development, said in an interview that he was “thrilled” to receive this “great honor.”
During his time as HAA executive director, Lovejoy sought to improve alumni participation in elections for the Harvard Board of Overseers and HAA elected directors. In 2022, he helped stage the inaugural Harvard Alumni Day.
Lovejoy also sat on more than eight alumni committees responsible for selecting Harvard Medal recipients in prior years.
“Having been involved in helping to identify medalists over the years, I never thought, ever, I would be in their company,” Lovejoy said. “So when I got that phone call, it just kind of blew me away.”
“They’re just extraordinary people who’ve done so much over their lives for the world and for Harvard,” he said. “That the committee felt that I deserve to be in their company was really quite meaningful to me.”
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