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As it Happened: Harvard Commencement 2023
Harvard alumni elected five new members to the Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing body, the University announced Thursday morning.
The newly-elected Overseers included Sylvia M. Burwell ’87, the president of American University; Jeffrey D. Dunn ’77, the interim president and CEO of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council senior director for European and Russian affairs; Vanessa W. Liu ’96, a former Harvard Alumni Association president and tech entrepreneur; and Robert L. Satcher Jr., an associate professor at the University of Texas and former astronaut.
All five members were elected for full six-year terms on the board.
Low voter turnout continued to plague the election, with a participation rate of less than 8.11 percent. More than 400,000 Harvard degree-holders were eligible to vote, but just 32,440 ballots were cast in the Overseers election.
Three of the five Overseers were previously endorsed by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an advocacy group that seeks to increase diversity and promote equity at the University.
Harvard Forward, a student and alumni campaign that promotes climate action and increased transparency on the University’s governing boards, did not put forward any candidates for the second straight year.
Three Harvard Forward-backed candidates won election to the board in 2020 and another in 2021, all of whom qualified for the ballot through the petition process. After reforms to the Board of Overseers in fall 2020, only six members who joined the ballot via petition may sit on the board at any given time.
In an article announcing the results of the election published in the Harvard Gazette, a University-run news publication, incoming Board of Overseers President Meredith L. “Max” Hodges ’03 said it “will be an exciting year ahead.”
“All of us on the Board of Overseers look forward to welcoming President Gay and supporting her in her new role,” Hodges said. “We warmly welcome our five newest Overseers, and I know we will benefit from their perspectives and experiences in the coming years.”
The Harvard Alumni Association will also see six new elected directors: Barbara R. Barreno-Paschall ’07, vice chair and commissioner of the Illinois Human Rights Commission; Judith L. Norsigian ’70, former executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves; Yvonne O. Osirim ’01, executive director of human health ethics and compliance at Merck; Theodora Skeadas ’12, a public policy associate at Twitter; Angela A. Sun ’96, a board director of Western Union, Cushman & Wakefield, and Apollo Strategic Growth Capital; and Jason W. Young ’04, managing partner at Totally Human.
Chosen from a pool of nine candidates, the new HAA elected directors will each serve three-year terms. Harvard alumni cast 33,565 ballots in the directors election. Consistent with recent years, Harvard degree-holders cast more votes in the directors election than in the Board of Overseers election.
Incoming HAA president Ty Moore ’06 told the Harvard Gazette that he was “thrilled to welcome these six newly elected alumni.”
“I know they all share a deep commitment to ensuring our dedicated, passionate alumni around the world forge new connections and are part of Harvard’s efforts to create positive change for our community and society at large,” he said.
—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mherszenhorn.
—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @claireyuan33.
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