John Medeski is a legendary pianist, both in the jam and jazz world—and he seems to be everywhere all the time. Outside of his continually groundbreaking work with his well-loved trio, Medeski Martin & Wood, the lauded pianist seems to pop up on projects and performances all over. He’s one of the busiest men down at the musical Mecca that is New Orleans Jazz Fest each year, collaborating with an absurd array of beloved artists night after night, and stays busy throughout the year playing with a number of different groups and regularly traversing the country to sit-in with other famed artists.In addition to his work with Medeski Martin & Wood, he’s worked on newer projects like Hudson, a supergroup also featuring John Scofield, Larry Grenadier, and Jack DeJohnette, and DRKWV, a collaboration he has with Lettuce‘s Adam Deitch and Skerik. Recently, during Jazz Fest 2018 this spring, Medeski played in the rotating lineup of the Daze Between Band along with Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools and Duane Trucks, The Marcus King Band’s Macrus King and Deshawn Alexander, Tom Hamilton (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Ghost Light), and more. And these varied projects are just examples of a few of the many projects the pianist is juggling at any given time.Today, on June 28th, John Medeski celebrates his birthday! Given the immense breadth of his work, there is truly an abundance of his music with which we could mark this special occasion. However, we’re choosing to celebrate the day with this throwback performance of Medeski, Martin & Wood at the Newport Jazz Festival back in 2005. You can enjoy the full concert below, courtesy of Jazz on MV.Medeski Martin & Wood – Full Show – 8/13/15For more information about John Medeski’s various projects, upcoming tour dates, and more, head to his website here.
Railroad Earth has confirmed five new promised east coast winter tour dates on the heels of their recently announced brief west coast run. A permanent replacement for Andy Goessling has not yet been confirmed, as the founding Railroad Earth member sadly succumbed to cancer in October.Railroad Earth will open their brief east coast run at Albany, NY’s The Egg on February 14th before making stops at Boston, MA’s The Wilbur (2/15) and Port Chester, NY’s The Capitol Theatre (2/16). From there, the band will head to Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club for a two-night stand on March 22nd and 23rd.The band’s previously announced west coast dates will begin with a two-night run at Denver, CO’s Ogden Theatre (1/18, 1/19) followed by performances at Frisco, CO’s 10 Mile Music Hall (1/20 & 21) and Lake Tahoe, NV’s Montbleu Casino Hotel (1/31) before culminating with a two-night run at Berkeley, CA’s UC Theatre on February 1st and 2nd.Tickets for Railroad Earth’s upcoming east coast dates go on sale this Friday, November 16th. For more information on ticketing and RRE’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website here.Railroad Earth 2019 Tour Dates (new dates bolded):1.18 & 19 – The Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO1.20 & 21 – 10 Mile Music Hall – Frisco, CO1.31 – Montbleau Casino Hotel – Lake Tahoe, NV2.1 & 2 – The UC Theatre – Berkeley, CA2.14 – The Egg, Albany NY2.15 – The Wilbur – Boston, MA2.16 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY3.22 & 3.23 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C.View All Tour Dates
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead continued their run of east coast shows as part of the Dead-inspired jam band’s ongoing 2019 winter tour with a sold-out performance at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ on Friday. The performance provided fans with a mix of Dead favorites, an abundance of teases, a Springsteen cover, and a special guest sit-in from notable multi-instrumentalist, Stuart Bogie.The night’s opening set saw the band get the show going with “Mama Tried”, and continued with “Brown Eyed Women” featuring a tease of “Tennessee Jed” from pianist Marco Benevento on the latter. The set continued with the band transitioning into “Good Lovin’”, which included a tease of John Coltrane‘s “Love Supreme” from pianist Marco Benevento. The show kept rolling with “The Wheel”, followed by a performance of “He’s Gone” with another “Tennessee Jed” tease. The band closed the first half of the show with a lively rendition of “Jack Straw”.The quintet returned to the stage to open up their second set by immediately diving into “Truckin” with a “New Speedway Boogie” tease courtesy of guitarist Tom Hamilton. The band continued right into a jam themed around “Born Cross-Eyed”, which transitioned into “Viola Lee Blues” with Scott Metzger providing another tease of “Good Lovin’” from earlier in the show. Metzger then took the sold-out theater into a rendition of “Throwing Stones” before the band jammed their way through the Bob Weir-sung tune. Following “Stones”, JRAD kept the second half energy going with a mix of “Row Jimmy” and “Estimated Prophet”, before closing out with “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”, which consisted of more Dead teases of “Tennessee Jed” and “Crazy Fingers”.The band returned for a two-song encore starting with “Box of Rain” in honor of Dead bassist Phil Lesh‘s 79th birthday on Friday, before reviving their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” for the first time since April 2017. The latter even saw the band welcoming out Stuart Bogie to play some sax on their version of the Springsteen classic.Fans can check out some of the photos from Friday’s sold-out show in the gallery below, courtesy of Ken Spielman.Joe Russo’s Almost Dead continue their winter run with a sold-out show at Masonic Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday night. Fans can head to the band’s website for ticket and tour info.Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Wellmont Theater | Montclair, NJ | 3/15/2019Set One: Mama Tried, Brown Eyed Women @ -> Good Lovin’ (The Rascals cover) # -> The Wheel -> He’s Gone $ -> Jack StrawSet Two: Truckin % -> Born Cross-Eyed Jam -> Viola Lee Blues ^ > Throwing Stones -> Jam -> Throwing Stones Reprise, Row Jimmy, Estimated Prophet * > Mississippi Half Step +Encore: Box Of Rain @@, Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen cover) ##Show Notes:@ Tennessee Jed Tease (MB) & a He’s Gone Jam# “Love Supreme” (John Coltrane) Tease (MB)$ “Tennessee Jed” Tease (TH)% “New Speedway” Tease (TH)^ “Good Lovin’” (The Rascals) Tease (SM)& “Terrapin Station” Tease (TH)* “Lost Sailor” Teases (Band), and a “Terrapin” Tease (TH)+ “Tennessee Jed” Tease (SM) and a “Crazy Fingers” Tease (Band)@@ Dedicated to Phil Lesh by JR on Phil’s Birthday## w/ Stuart Bogie on Sax, with the house lights on, Not Played By Almost Dead since 2017-04-29, 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO, a gap of 79 ShowsJoe Russo’s Almost Dead | Wellmont Theater | Montclair, NJ | 3/15/2019 | Photos: Ken Spielman Load remaining images
Three Harvard faculty members, whose research ranges from the spatial organization of ultra-cold atoms to the effect of racial differences in America to the psychology of suicide and self-injury, are among the recipients of this year’s MacArthur Foundation fellowships.Roland Fryer Jr., Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics; Markus Greiner, associate professor of physics; and Matthew K. Nock, professor of psychology, will receive the prestigious “genius” grants, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today.The three are among 22 recipients from a variety of fields to be recognized by the foundation for their originality and dedication to their chosen fields. The annual awards are no-strings-attached grants of $500,000, which recipients may use to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. Recipients are nominated anonymously, and don’t know they are under consideration until they are notified by the foundation that they have won.“This has been a year of great change and extraordinary challenge, and we are once again reminded of the potential individuals have to make a difference in the world and shape our future,” said Robert Gallucci, president of the MacArthur Foundation. “The MacArthur Fellows exemplify how individual creativity and talent can spark new insights and ideas in every imaginable field of human endeavor.”For Fryer, that field is illuminating the causes and consequences of economic disparity due to race and inequality in American society, particularly when it comes to education.Most recently, Fryer led an experiment to examine whether financial incentives work as a method of boosting student achievement. In a study that examined 20,000-plus students at more than 200 schools in three cities, the results found that incentives alone have no significant impact on state test scores.Though he has yet to decide how he will use the grant funds, Fryer hopes to develop a scalable solution to a problem he calls the “civil rights issue of the 21st century” — closing the racial achievement gap.“I’m still in a bit of shock,” said Fryer, of being named a MacArthur Fellow. “The feeling that is most prominent at this point is one of gratitude — to the foundation for the fellowship, to my colleagues, and to the University for doing what it can to provide an environment for faculty where ideas are our only constraints.”Greiner learned of his award two weeks ago, while visiting friends in Munich, but initially believed he’d been contacted by the foundation seeking information about another nominee.“They called to tell me they needed information regarding a MacArthur Fellow, and had some questions regarding their CV and background, but then told me they were talking about me,” Greiner said. “It was a wonderful surprise.”Greiner’s work focuses on using lasers and magnetic fields to cool atoms to ultra-low temperatures — near absolute zero — then trap them in lattices created using lasers. Once trapped, the atoms behave similarly to electrons, enabling the investigation of quantum phenomena like superconductivity under conditions that can be more easily controlled.For Nock, who studies suicide and self-injury in adolescents and adults, the grant offers the chance to seed programs that not only advance our understanding of suicide, but our ability to predict and prevent it, he said.As a researcher, Nock has made significant breakthroughs in understanding why people harm themselves. Using a multidisciplinary approach that combines epidemiology, laboratory experiments, mental associations, and real-world biological and psychological assessment, he has documented the mental state of people considering or recently engaging in self-injury. His work has uncovered a psychological marker — the extent to which a person associates his or her self-concept with death — and the strength of that association, which can be used to predict suicide attempts with greater accuracy than before.Despite being named a “genius” by the MacArthur Foundation, Nock said the credit for his work should be shared with his many collaborators.“The MacArthur Fellows Program recognizes individuals, but our research is very collaborative in nature, and I am only one very small part of the outstanding team of researchers that contributed to the work recognized by this award,” he said.
A simple program involving color-coded food labeling and adjusting the way food items are positioned in display cases was successful in encouraging healthy choices in a large hospital cafeteria. The report from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers will appear in the March American Journal of Public Health and has received early online release.“We found that labeling all foods and beverages with a simple red, yellow, and green color scheme to indicate their relative healthiness led patrons to purchase more of the healthy and fewer of the unhealthy items,” said Anne Thorndike of the MGH division of general medicine, who led the study. “We also found that moving items around to make the healthy items more convenient and visible led to further improvement in the nutritional quality of items purchased.”Thorndike is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.The authors note that most point-of-purchase efforts to encourage more nutritious choices focus on labeling the calorie content of food, which will soon be required for many restaurants and food service vendors as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, calorie information is only useful if people read and comprehend it — which requires understanding their own calorie needs, accurately estimating serving sizes, and having enough time to consider and act on the information provided. Studies by psychologists and behavioral economists have noted that individuals tend to maintain their typical behavior patterns and are more motivated by actions with immediate, rather than long-term, rewards.The research team — including leaders of the MGH Nutrition and Food Services — devised a two-phase plan. In the first, which began in March 2010, color-coded labels were attached to all items in the main hospital cafeteria — green signifying the healthiest items, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats; yellow indicating less healthy items; and red for those with little or no nutritional value. Signs in the cafeteria encouraged customers to consume green items often, to consume yellow items less often, and to consider other choices for red items. Cash registers were programmed to record and identify each purchased item as green, red, or yellow. Additional nutritional information was made available in the cafeteria throughout the six-month study period.For the second phase, which began in June 2010, displayed food items were rearranged according to principles of behavioral economics. This phase focused on cold beverages, premade sandwiches, and chips — popular items likely to be purchased by customers who have little time to spend and may be more influenced by location and convenience. Refrigerators were arranged to place water, diet beverages, and low-fat dairy products at eye level, while beverages with a red or yellow label were placed below eye level. The sandwich refrigerator was also arranged to put green items at eye level while red or yellow items were placed above and below. Racks of chips had yellow items at eye level and red items below, and additional baskets of bottled water were placed near stations where hot food was served.At the end of the study period, sales of green items had increased significantly, while sales of red items decreased. During the first phase, sales of all red items decreased 9.2 percent — with red beverage purchases dropping 16.5 percent — while green item sales increased 4.5 percent, with a 9.6 increase in green beverages. In the second phase, red item sales dropped another 4.9 percent compared with the first phase, with beverages dropping by 11.4 percent; and while sales of green items decreased 0.8 percent in the second phase, sales of green beverages increased another 4.0 percent. A comparison with two satellite cafeterias where these measures had not been instituted revealed that these changes were much more pronounced in the cafeteria where the study was conducted.“We believe this intervention was so successful because it was simple and easy to understand quickly. The labeling did not require any special skills and could be easily interpreted when a customer was in a rush,” said Thorndike. “Any of these strategies could be easily translated to other food service environments.”All elements of the program remain in place, said Thorndike, with the color-coded labeling extended to other MGH food service locations. Future analysis is planned to see whether the changes are maintained over time.Co-authors of the report — which was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — are Lillian Sonnenberg and Susan Barraclough, MGH Nutrition and Food Services; Douglas Levy, Mongan Institute for Health Policy at MGH; and Jason Riis, Harvard Business School.
4Harvard President Drew Faust signed the boards. 2Passersby filled the boards with messages, thanks, and condolences. 7 6 In the wake of tragedy, people gather to support each other, and to give thanks for family, friends, and community. After the Boston Marathon bombings and the area shutdown during the search for the suspects, the Harvard community has been doing just that.After the lockdown ended, President Drew Faust wrote, “Times like these test our resilience and call forth our humanity.”At daybreak on April 24, the day of a memorial service for slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 20 stark whiteboards with the words “Boston Strong” and “Harvard Remembers” bannered across their tops appeared in the newly renovated plaza near the Science Center. A stream of yellow, potted daffodils lined the area, where passersby were invited to take up dangling pens and share their thoughts or feelings.The project, called the “remembrance walls,” was the brainchild of the Undergraduate Council (UC), which wanted to provide an outlet for students to express themselves.“The remembrance walls are a beautiful testament to the power of community,” said Tara Raghuveer, the UC president who, along with vice president Jennifer Q. Zhu, brought the council’s idea to the president’s office. “The students were interested in thanking the staff in the Houses and police at Harvard and in Boston and Cambridge for all their help. It was a tragic series of events, but the silver lining is we were able to come together and be reminded that so many people are dedicated to our safety and security.”The students joined with the Harvard Common Spaces Program, which had been planning a commemoration on the revitalized plaza. Armed with the students’ idea, Harvard staff constructed the boards and placed 3,000 flowers throughout the plaza and in other common spaces for passersby to take home.“It was an amazing first use of a new common space,” said Zhu. “The plaza offered a central location where people could come together to reflect on a disconcerting series of events over the past week.“It was so meaningful to see students, professors, administrators, even tourists gathered together to express themselves, share the moment, and be part of a community,” Zhu continued. “It was really for the people.”By day’s end, the boards were full of thoughts and feelings, thanks and condolences.“Everything that happened that day — from the remembrance walls to the daffodils — gave students a great sense of community, [a feeling] that Harvard was there, taking care,” said Zhu.The walls, which were on display during Harvard’s Arts First festival (April 25-28), will remain in place through the end of the week. 1The “remembrance walls,” 20 whiteboards set up in the Science Center Plaza, offered the Harvard community a place to express their thoughts and feelings after the Boston Marathon bombings. 8 3Kelly Lam ’13 wrote, “We can survive even this.” 5 9
8Instructor Monica Ripley tapers and shapes the sides of her porcelain bowl. 15An engraved interpretation of a kettle. 10An overview of the modern digs. 7Gretchen Mamis (left) and Mei-Li Milonni observe Monica Ripley’s lesson. The Office for the Arts’ Ceramics Program, one of Harvard’s longest and most celebrated, moved this month from its home of 26 years at 219 Western Ave. in Allston just a few blocks down to 224. The new location, designed by Cambridge-based Galante Architecture Studio, boasts a public gallery directly fronting the street and will build upon the success of the existing programming while including visiting artist series, exhibitions, and community initiatives.The interior of the 15,010-square-foot studio offers classrooms for wheel-thrown, hand-built, and sculptural ceramics, as well as clay and glaze chemistry labs, plaster and mold-making design areas, a large kiln room with gas reduction, soda, electric and raku and sagger firing options. There are independent workspaces for professional artists, administrative offices, a lounge, a visual presentation and digital resource room, and a research collection of work by visiting artists.“This is an extraordinary time for Harvard arts under the leadership of President Faust,” said Jack Megan, the director of the Office for the Arts. “This new, state-of-the-art studio is a signifier of her commitment and the University’s commitment to fostering arts practice. The Office for the Arts’ Ceramics Program has long been a creative intersection for Harvard students, faculty, administrators, and the community from across Greater Boston. This studio will enhance that connectedness and enrich the lives of artists and scholars for many years to come.”This change also marks a transition in program leadership. On July 1, Shawn Panepinto, acting director since 2010, was appointed director of studio operations and outreach and instructor Kathryn King was appointed the new role of director of education. Together they will oversee all aspects of the program’s development as it begins its new chapter at 224 Western Ave. 14Bisque-fired and glazed ceramic pieces are found throughout the studio. 11Christopher Adam ’94 works diligently among the other ceramics students. 5Christopher Adam ’94 fashions a ceramic sculpture by hand. 2Casey Zeng wedges his porcelain clay. 6Ceramics instructor Monica Ripley (center) demonstrates throwing techniques with porcelain clay. 9Director of Studio Operations and Outreach Shawn Panepinto (left) and Director of Education Kathryn King are pictured in the new ceramics studio. 13Students work in the large wheel throwing studio space. 12Students practice throwing techniques on the wheels. 4Emma Vesey decorates the surface of her hand-built pot. 16Another kettle, in stark white. 1The Ceramics Program opens a new facility at 224 Western Ave. in Allston that includes a public gallery and other enhanced spaces and amenities. The large wheel throwing space is pictured from above during a wheel throwing class with porcelain clay. 3Cyndi Mason rolls out clay to make a bowl using hand-building techniques.
Jane O’Hara’s colorful panel titled “Sacrifice” added another dimension to the Ed Portal exhibit. ‘Beasts of Burden’ Unbound Visual Arts unveils a new exhibit at the Ed Portal gallery. Valentina Davos, 4, makes a face while her mother photographs her next to Wendy Klemperer’s “Fierce Wolf.” Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer Artist Gedas Paskauskas posed next to his painting during the opening of the exhibit at the Ed Portal. Dogmac, an iMac disguised as a dog, was created by Denise Lindquist. Savannah, Ga., artist Shannon Wright used cardboard to create a sculpture of a bear capturing a salmon. In the exhibit space at the Harvard Allston Education Portal, Shannon Wright, a sculptor from Savannah, Ga., stood before one of her creations, a sculpture of a bear capturing a salmon. Both were shaped using cardboard and were held together with large metal staples.While she said she doesn’t have “an animal activist point of view,” the artist grew up on a farm, and still works on one. As a result, she said, she is “very into sustainable living.”The relationship between humanity and animals is on full display at the gallery, where Unbound Visual Arts, a nonprofit based in Allston-Brighton, has organized an exhibit in collaboration with guest curator Jane O’Hara and the Newton-based New Art Center. The exhibit gathers paintings, sculptures, and diverse media from 13 contemporary artists under the group theme “Beasts of Burden.” The exhibit is free and open to the public from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.John Quatrale, executive director of Unbound Visual Arts, said his organization has been working closely with Ed Portal staff to present contemporary arts in the portal to support local artists. “They were just very open to making things work so we could use the space,” he said. “It’s a tremendous asset to the community. I think we have the potential here of doing much more — reaching audiences in Allston-Brighton and beyond, and at Harvard too.” Established two years ago, Unbound Visual Arts has quickly established itself as “a mover and a shaker,” Quatrale said, organizing more than 30 solo and group theme-based exhibitions in the area.The Ed Portal also features a second exhibit, “All Things Change,” which was curated by Quatrale and earlier was displayed in Boston City Hall.“It’s wonderful that the Ed Portal opened that gallery space for us,” said Ruth Rieffanaugh, a founding member of Unbound Visual Arts and an Allston resident. “Along with the ceramics and the educational work they’re doing there, it’s another way to bring members of the community into that space. It’s really important.”Mary-Helen Black, administrative director of the Ed Portal, sees the growing partnership between Unbound Visual Arts and the portal as a way to broaden its arts programming and connect with the community.“Supporting local artists from Harvard and the community provides more opportunities for people to engage with and participate in the arts,” said Black. “It is an important resource that the Ed Portal can provide for the Allston-Brighton and Harvard communities.”Created in 2008, the Ed Portal was designed as a physical space to bring Harvard and the Allston-Brighton community together, and to serve as that community’s front door to Harvard’s educational, cultural, arts, and recreational resources. That mission resonates with the Unbound Visual Arts initiative, Quatrale said, because its goal is to create excitement around contemporary art, and to develop educational initiatives such as artist lectures and curator talks for the public.“We want to have art everywhere,” he said. “Our theory is that many people are interested in contemporary art, but they don’t get a lot of exposure to it. This is a scenario where people can come in and experience the work for themselves.”Rieffanaugh agreed, adding, “I hope more people become aware of the Ed Portal, and all the wonderful opportunities there.”The artists with work in the exhibition include Tony Bevilacqua, Ariel Bordeaux, Rebecca Doughty, Raul Gonzalez III, Wendy Klemperer, Denise Lindquist, Jo-Anne McArthur, Moira McLaughlin, Sterling Mulbry, Jane O’Hara, Gedas Paskauskas, Jo Tyler, and Shannon Wright. The Harvard Allston Education Portal is located at 175 N. Harvard St., Allston, Mass. The exhibit will be on display through June 30. The Ed Portal is also featuring a second exhibit, “All Things Change.”
Leading scholars at Harvard tell their stories in the Experience series.Nitin Nohria graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai in 1984 with a bachelor’s of technology in chemical engineering, a degree he had little interest in using. From there, he went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, where he envisioned a career as an entrepreneur before realizing that teaching was his true passion. After graduating from MIT in 1988 with a Ph.D. in management, Nohria joined the faculty of Harvard Business School, where he soon developed a reputation as a consensus builder and strong leader.A scholar of leadership and organizational change, Nohria has zeroed in on the nuances of human motivation, the theory and practice of leadership, corporate transformation and accountability, sustainable economic and human performance, and the strategic and organizational challenges of globalization.After 22 years as an award-winning professor, he was chosen by President Drew Faust in 2010 to serve as the Business School’s 10th dean.Now, at a time of great change for business and business education, Nohria has earned accolades for his robust efforts as dean to reconsider and refine the MBA curriculum to include more experiential learning, to emphasize “competence and character,” to expand Harvard’s global reach, and to confront long-standing challenges such as cultural barriers for women faculty and students at the School.Q: Tell me a little bit about your life growing up in India.A: Three moments in my schooling stand out in particular. The first was in second grade. There was an essay competition to be one of the few people who would be chosen to go see the lunar landing. I was 7 years old. There was no television in Indian homes; you had to go to the national television station to see it. A few schoolchildren and teachers from some of the top schools were invited to participate in this contest, and I was lucky enough to be selected. It was one of the landmark moments in my life. It was the sense of the pioneering spirit, and it gave me this fascination with people who are pioneers.The second moment was with my eighth-grade English teacher, who was probably the single most influential person in my life. We used to have these textbooks that were designed by the government called Radiant Readers. This teacher saw that I was bored and had outgrown the Radiant Reader. He kept me one day after class. He said, “You know, I think you should read more than this Radiant Reader and so I want you to start reading some other authors.” The first book I remember reading was Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth.” Then I read Steinbeck. In that one year, I must have read 20 Nobel Prize-winning authors. And all of a sudden, the world changed. From that day onwards, I felt like I could educate myself. It was just the difference between feeling like I had to be educated by teachers to feeling like I could educate myself, and just being unafraid to read anything. That was a very, very important influence on me.The third moment was in 10th grade. The school had an award for the best “all-rounder,” which is an Indian phrase meaning someone who’s good at everything — sports, academics. I’d aspired to that goal, and I got the title that I had aspired to.Q: How did you make your way to the United States?A: Then I went to IIT Bombay to study chemical engineering. My dream was to go to Oxford or Cambridge, which is ironic because IIT Bombay was probably harder to get into. I didn’t love being a chemical engineer, and therefore, I ended up being no good at it. My entire five years in chemical engineering were spent waiting to get out of Dodge.Two-thirds of my graduating class went to the United States, 99 percent of them to graduate school in engineering. I was very clear that I didn’t want to go to graduate school in engineering. So I ended up applying to graduate schools of business. My great hope was to join an MBA program. Frankly, I had no desire to ever be a doctoral student. If someone had told me when I was graduating college that one day I’d be a professor, I would have died laughing. Anybody who knew me would have laughed even harder. Nobody would have envisioned me as a professor, nor could I have. I applied to Ph.D. programs almost entirely because they offered scholarships. So I must have applied to half a dozen MBA programs and half a dozen Ph.D. programs.One of the happiest days of my life was getting that letter from MIT which said, “You’ve been admitted to the doctoral program.” The second paragraph [read] “and you have a fellowship to come study.” I am extraordinarily grateful for this American tradition of philanthropy that allows people to have access to education, because that was the single thing that changed my life.Then I came to MIT, and it was the first time I had ever traveled outside of my country. I started off thinking I would study finance. I didn’t even realize that leadership and organizational behavior was a field of study, yet I ended up taking classes in those areas and finally found the thing that I fell in love with.Q: When I think of chemical engineering, I think of precision-based thinking. So then to shift to management and human dynamics — these are fields that are anything but precise.A: Yes, that’s what was so surprising. Really, I started off thinking that I would study finance because I knew I didn’t want to do engineering, but I was reasonably good at math. I liked that kind of analytic thinking. But this is maybe my eighth-grade teacher’s enduring influence, the deep love for things that were not as precise — literature, philosophy. That influence remained very powerful. And when I started to read about sociology and psychology and leadership and organizations, it was somewhere in between. Social science felt in between the engineering and hard sciences that I’d studied. But more than anything, it just spoke to me.I also wonder how much of it was just the influence of my father. I lived in a household in which my father talked a lot about his business challenges. My father was not interested in sports. We ended up talking a lot about the challenges that he faced in business and how to think about them. We talked a lot about philosophy. So those were the things that I learned from my father. Maybe it’s all of that that finally came together.It was the best choice I ever made, because there was a rational side of me that kept saying, “Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just stay in finance, especially at MIT?” This was a time when there were Nobel Prize winners in that group: [Franco] Modigliani and Fischer Black had recently won the Nobel Prize. So there had been really important work, and I was in that department, and I had the opportunity to work with all these people. Yet I was more drawn to organizational behavior, which had a great tradition at MIT as well, some very famous thinkers — [Douglas] McGregor, Ed[gar] Schein.Q: Was your interest in business a result of your father’s influence?A: I think that certainly my father had a very large influence on my interest in business. But more than that, I also had a very visceral experience with business. I used to travel with my father very often, and I saw what business could do. He was running an electrical equipment company. This was a time when India was getting electrified, so the vast majority of the country had no electricity, and he was building the generators, the transformers, the equipment that would help in the electrification of the country.I still remember going to visit a factory in a place called Nashik, which was just outside of Bombay. So we’d go to these places — Nashik was a great example — where there was nothing, and my father, his company, built the first factory. Then you go to these places again five years later and where there was a factory, there were 10 factories. And then you go another 10 years later and there was a whole city. So the power of business to generate economic prosperity — I remember there was a 10th-year anniversary of the Nashik factory that I had the privilege of going with my father to see the first year when it was actually started. We were sitting at the lunch table, and it was his common practice to sit at the regular lunch table with workers. I was sitting next to a worker, and he was describing how much this factory had changed his life — how he had gotten employment, his kids had gone to college, there were now hospitals. So I had this very visceral sense of business being a noble thing and that the impact it had on society was very positive. It didn’t just feel like a choice that I was making because it was a conservative choice or a choice that would generate employment or something. It just felt like a way to live your life where you could do something with your life that was worthy.‘I was always eclectic. I didn’t end up having an intellectual identity that was clearly about something.’Q: Did your father or mother offer any advice to you in those days that stayed with you?A: My father always used to say that there must be two things that you should always do in life. He said you should find something that you love doing. And you should find something that makes you feel like you’re doing better for society. That was very important to his own sense of life — living a life in which your life was in some ways giving back to society or you felt like you were making a positive difference in society. That was a deeply important value for him.His view was that there’s no particular way in which you should choose to do it. Find something that you love, but find something that also makes you feel that you’re making a positive difference on society.Q: When you first came to the United States and arrived at MIT, did you have any preconceived notions about what Cambridge or the U.S. was like?A: There was this wonderful graduate student who was about 10 years older than me. I was among the youngest people in the graduate program at MIT. She was very concerned, almost like quasi-maternally concerned, about whether this young kid who had just dropped off the boat from India was doing OK or not. I remember about four weeks in, she sat down and she said to me, “Are you having culture shock?” I said, “Yeah, I’m in culture shock.” She says, “In what way?” And I said, “I didn’t realize I had come to a village.” Because I was shocked that you couldn’t go out after 10 p.m. and get dinner in Cambridge! In Bombay, after 10 p.m. is when you started to go out and it was a big city even then. Now it’s 20 million, but when I left it was probably 10, 12 million. Boston felt very provincial.On the other hand, the academic environment at MIT was the most freeing — you suddenly felt like there was no limit to what you could imagine, what you could think, what you could do. I had this simultaneous sense of, on the one hand, being in a small place, but on the other hand, being in a limitless place intellectually. What was striking is that nobody said that just because you’re a graduate student, you’re supposed to think small thoughts and you have to wait until you get tenure to think big thoughts. In India, you almost always felt that you had to find your place. It was a very hierarchical society, and when you were young, you were never supposed to challenge a professor.Here, to suddenly be liberated to imagine whatever you wanted to imagine for yourself, to be encouraged to sit in seminars — your right to ask a question, if you asked an intelligent question, was the same as anybody else’s right to ask an intelligent question. To constantly be challenged by your professors, I had this extraordinary sense of liberation intellectually, which was exhilarating. There’s no other word that can describe it. It was just exhilarating. Of course, I did have to get over the cold.Q: Tell me about your transition to teaching.A: My first summer after my first year, I thought I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I negotiated a license with a company in Ireland to make electrical tapes in India. We had this whole deal: I was going to graduate, I was going to go back and start this company. But by my second summer, it was very clear that I wanted to be an academic. I had started to write my first set of papers, and completed my general exam.Q: Did you have any moments of serious self-doubt about whether you could distinguish yourself as a graduate student or as a young professor at HBS, moments where you said to yourself, what am I doing here?A: I think it’s very hard to be an academic without having at least moments of serious self-doubt. I still remember in my third year trying to figure out a dissertation topic. I went to my adviser and said, “I think I made a big mistake. Here I am in this world of ideas, and I can’t find my footing. I should have stayed true to my desire to be back in the real world.”Mike Piore, one of my great advisers, said to me, “You should do whatever you want to do. Just remember that this is the real world. Just because people are interested in producing ideas, it’s still a real world. You have to actually write something, and you have to produce a dissertation, and you have to go out and do research. It’s very much like if you were to be in a business, you’d have to go out and find customers, and you’d have to go out and convince people of what you were trying to build as being important and worthy. Choose to do it or not do it, but don’t get confused about real world and not real world. This is a real enterprise, and any enterprise that has risk and uncertainty in it will require you to overcome that risk and doubt and uncertainty.”For some reason, that felt right. Any activity that you engage in which is entrepreneurial, which is what I think inherently being an academic is, will always have some moment of doubt. Yes, there have been moments of doubts throughout my career. But they never felt overwhelming. They always just felt like — that doubt is just inherent in the nature of any activity in which a lot depends upon you.Q: Who were some of your early mentors? You mentioned your eighth-grade teacher. Are there others and what did you take away from them?A: I had this very eclectic group of advisers at MIT. I had Mike Piore, who was an economist; I had Don Lessard, who studied international finance; Eleanor Westney, who was a historian of Japan and a sociologist; Mel Horwitch, who was a historian of technology and did technology strategy; and John Van Maanen, who was an anthropologist and used to write ethnographies. None of the five of them would necessarily have ever gotten into a room to talk to each other, but they all talked to me and through me. And each one of them I learned very, very powerful things from.From Eleanor Westney I learned a historical sensibility, which has been important to my research as time has unfolded. From Mel Horwitch I continue to find an interest in how technology plays out in organizational life, and that was very important. John Van Maanen gave me kind of a sensibility about methods, of qualitative data. Even though I had grown up doing quantitative studies, he’s the one who showed me how to do qualitative research, and that has become very important to the research that I’ve done. And Don Lessard was the person who gave me the courage to say, even though you started off in finance, you don’t have to do finance at MIT. Having a finance professor say it’s OK to do something else was really important. And so each of them I am very grateful to, and they remain good friends.Equally, when I came to Harvard Business School, I got very, very lucky. Mentors have played a very powerful role in my life. I think that we all underestimate sometimes how powerful these people are in terms of shaping your life. The first person whom I ended up working very closely with at Harvard Business School was Bob Eccles. He was chairman of the organizational behavior department when I was recruited. I wrote my first book with him. I went out and did my first field research at Harvard Business School with him. He taught me how to teach. I became godparent to his son, so we became great family friends. It was a relationship that ended up being profoundly important not just professionally, but personally.Another colleague of ours, Jim Cash, who ran our MBA program, helped me get into my first field sites in terms of writing cases. And John McArthur, who was dean at the time, I still treasure. I don’t know what motivated him to do it, but in my third year as an assistant professor, I had written a paper on the importance of taking action as a leader and how important it was to be willing to act and to not be paralyzed by the permanent uncertainty that exists before you take action, because you never know 100 percent whether you’re going to take the right course of action or not.There was this little note that came to me in the mail. It was a handwritten note from John McArthur. “I read your paper. I think it’s a very interesting paper. I agree with everything that you said. The only thing I would have you recognize is that sometimes not taking action is action. Just because you didn’t act doesn’t mean that — you can be very deliberate about not taking action, and that is action, too.”I still have that letter. Because the dean of Harvard Business School — I mean, why would [he] even know who a third-year assistant professor is? Somehow I always had the feeling at Harvard Business School that people were looking out for my welfare. I don’t know why. I just felt surrounded by people, from the dean on down, who I felt were deeply interested in my professional and personal development and to have me succeed.That has been why, in some ways, I love this School, because I felt the School loved me in the deepest sense of that word. I never felt that I had a professional relationship with the School; I really felt that I had this caring relationship with the School.Q: Is there some piece of scholarship or work that you’re most proud of?A: I don’t know whether it’s always true for people, but I feel happiest about the first book that I ever wrote, and that was with Bob [Eccles]. It was a book that we wrote called “Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management.” There was a lot of talk around the time that he and I were writing this book that there was a revolution that was taking place in organizational life, and everything was, you know, hierarchy was being destroyed, and networks were going to replace hierarchies. The old order was no longer valid, and some new order was being created.Almost on a whim, we said, OK, let’s see whether there was ever a time before where people were saying the same things. What we discovered is this rhetoric could be found every 20 years. Every 20 years, people were talking about how hierarchy needed to be destroyed, and there was great literature in the 1930s about the end of hierarchy. So then we started to say, “What is this?”There’s always this hype that animates the literature about how the world is changing and we are living through an era in which the old order will be destroyed. The heart of management is that even this rhetoric plays its purpose; it provides the animating energy. Business is a field in which leadership is this process of continuous renewal. It’s not like everything can be new. But yet the rhetoric of new is important, because it’s the way in which you engage and motivate and mobilize.So we talked about how rhetoric and action and identity were the three core things that seemed to be at play underneath all of this hype and were the constant around which leadership and management were permanently engaged, even though it always had to take a kind of fresh guise. I still think of that as being the best piece of work I’ve ever done. Now that I’m actually in a leadership job, the core ideas from that book remain. You just experience them every day.Q: Looking back, are there any regrets or missteps along the way?A: I still remember when I came up for tenure. A colleague of mine who was managing the appointments process said to me, “You would have made your life easier if you’d simply deleted one-third of your résumé.” Because I was always eclectic. I didn’t end up having an intellectual identity that was clearly about something. I did work on multinationals. I did work on leadership. I did work on strategic alliances. So he said, “Look, it was just hard to find an easy way to categorize you. Sometimes, in academic life, it’s easier if you’re known to be the person who did x.”For many, many years, I used to wonder whether that was just a misstep, that I should have curbed my own eclectic impulses and been more focused in my scholarship. And then maybe three or four years after I got tenure, someone gave me this great essay by Isaiah Berlin called “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” It’s about different intellectual styles, and it talks about how there are some people who are like a hedgehog, they’re very deep, and there are other people who are like the fox, and you kind of flit from thing to thing. It’s very hard to turn a fox into a hedgehog or a hedgehog into a fox. Maybe it was just an easy rationalization, but I came to think of myself as an intellectual fox, and I was much happier. I think this is a tension that many academics face — what kind of scholarly life do you want to have for yourself?Q: I understand that you’re the first dean in 30 years to live in the Dean’s residence. Could you talk a little bit about that decision? How has it worked out?A: It’s worked out great. It was almost done on instinct more than anything else. We are a residential campus, which is a very distinctive feature. We’re the only graduate business school that is almost a fully residential campus. I had this sense that that’s how it’s meant to be. The dean is meant to live here. Why would the campus have been created with a dean’s house, if the dean was not meant to live in the dean’s house?I talked to my wife, Monica, and she got it. Our children were a lot more skeptical. But they’ve had a blast, because it’s more private than we thought. It’s not like being a [House] master. My good friend Rakesh Khurana became master of Cabot House about the same time that I became dean. Their experience in terms of how integrated their lives are with their students is so much more than ours. But it has got this amazing value to me, that every day, just walking around this campus, I’ll have 10 to 20, 30-second to two-minute conversations. It gives you a pulse of what’s going on.You can do things that you would never otherwise think of doing. Like, if there’s a student show, or if there are student club events, or there are things on weekends, you can just easily come in and out, because you don’t have to drive in, and it doesn’t feel like a trip. It just feels like you can fit things into your daily life. The kids have enjoyed being close to Harvard Square and being closer to the city. It’s all turned out to be wonderful.Nohria credited his predecessor for initiating efforts to tackle gender inequalities at HBS.Q: You’re a popular and respected teacher, and you’ve taught across the entire School and the University. To what do you attribute your success and which strategies have you found that work for you or that people most respond to?A: I used to teach a subject that was considered a soft subject. I taught leadership; I taught organizational behavior. These are things that people say, “Oh, you know, you show up to class, and whatever you say goes, and these are fluffy.” So I actually learned that you have to be demanding of students. In the end, if you’re not demanding of your students, they won’t respect either you or your subject.I have learned that if you can hold those two thoughts simultaneously in your head — that I want to be demanding of my students, but I want to be deeply caring of them, and I care about their learning, I care that they learn something from this class in a way that makes them feel better about themselves and better prepared to do things — they will respond to that in amazing ways.Q: Your public efforts to confront and correct what many women say is a deep history of gender inequalities and discrimination at HBS, both at the student and faculty levels, have drawn a lot of attention. How did you become sensitized to this issue and why has it been such a priority for you?A: Actually, many of these efforts began before me. The one that is the most vivid moment that shaped it for me was a conversation that occurred during my predecessor Jay Light’s time. There was a faculty meeting in which we were voting academic degrees, which is a pro forma faculty meeting that we have every year. We vote on all the names for first-year honors, second-year honors, and Baker Scholars. That’s the standard meeting.This time, as opposed to the vote just being pro forma, one of my colleagues raised her hand and said, “I’ve been looking at this list, and I can’t tell — what is the gender composition of the honors that we just awarded to these students?” The striking thing was that nobody had actually checked. We had celebrated for many years the growing number of women who had joined Harvard Business School, but we’d never asked an obvious question: How well do they do? What we discovered was that for many years, the proportion of women getting honors had lagged their representation in the program.We looked at that data carefully, and we said no, our women students have the same GPAs, they come from equally high-quality colleges, they have the same GMAT scores, and yet they perform not as well. What’s going on?I was in the job, at that time, of the senior associate dean of faculty appointments at Harvard Business School. So my colleague Peter Tufano and I did an analysis of how we were doing in terms of promoting women. What we discovered is that as we had begun to hire more women into the faculty, the proportion who were succeeding was diminishing slightly. When we had fewer women, they were succeeding at the same rate. But when we were having more women join the faculty, they were not succeeding at the same rate as the men.We looked at the women faculty at the entry level, and again, they all came from the same elite schools. They published as many papers. So they should have an academic track record where their odds of success should be the same. The same questions, I think, arise when we look at our women graduates in the workforce; we know, over time, that the way they sustain professional careers is different than men.In all these domains, I think it’s important for us to better understand what is holding people back. What are the forms that unconscious or structural biases take? How do we begin to attack that? How can we try and learn from trying to address these issues ourselves?These things have to be identified and attacked, I think, more with scalpels than with sledgehammers. We’ve learned how to do that on the student front. We’re thinking hard about how to do that better on the faculty front.My hope is that by learning how to create genuine equality when it comes to gender, we’ll also learn how to do it around race and ethnicity and sexual preferences or orientation and all of those other dimensions of diversity that are no less important, where there’s also evidence of systematic bias or unconscious bias. We’ve made some progress, and I’m very proud of the progress that we’ve made as an institution. But there is more work to do.This is deeply important to me because of my own experience. I found Harvard Business School to be a place where I never felt I couldn’t thrive because I was Indian or because I didn’t look like the majority. Quite the contrary: I became dean. It’s the most remarkable commitment to meritocracy I know, that a person like me would be dean of this institution. So the fact that we have people at HBS we can’t look in the eye and promise an equal opportunity to be as successful as anybody else is just deeply troubling to me, and we’re beginning to attack it as best we can.Q: I think there was some surprise that you laid out such an ambitious agenda for change shortly after you took over as dean and then pushed forward with it quite promptly. What drove you to take such a bold approach? Do you think that was the right call or is it too soon to say?A: I don’t know who said it, but someone much wiser than me once said that it takes as much to do something big as it does to do something small, so you might as well do something big. In institutions like ours, even making a small change takes a lot of work and effort. So if you’re going to do it, you might as well try to do it with some real conviction. And especially on an issue like inclusion, you have to break through the suspicion of whether you really are committed to change.I realized it was a huge thing even to make the issues openly discussable, and to admit to them. We saw our alumni react in all manner of ways about having Harvard Business School written up in The New York Times, from denial (“This is not the school that I went to”) to relief (“Finally, the school is admitting what it was really like”). So I’ve learned you’re going to get brickbats and you’re going to get bravos. You can’t worry about either. You have to believe that what you’re trying to do is deeply important, and important from a principle standpoint. If you stay true to that, it’s easier to make progress.Q: In her 2014 Class Day speech, Sheryl Sandberg recalled how as an undergrad at the College, they roundly booed the HBS students during Commencement because they were seen as “sellouts.” Obviously, she said this in good humor, since she’s also an HBS graduate, but there has been a widely held perception of business school students generally as motivated primarily by their own financial interests. Why do you believe the School has a responsibility to develop competent and ethical leaders and is that need more urgent now than a generation ago?A: Harvard Business School was founded in 1908 at the end of a financial crisis. Business was in disrepute, and business leaders were called robber barons. So the first mission statement of the School was to educate leaders who could make a decent profit decently — people who society could trust to do their job as business leaders. Because in the end, the job of a businessperson is to run a successful enterprise, which means a profitable enterprise. But that was not incompatible with doing it ethically and decently and in a way that was seen by people as people who could be trusted as any other citizen of the world could be trusted.Throughout our 100-year history, there have been times when that has been more and less salient. Today, as we enter our second century, our commitment to developing leaders not just with competence but also with character is one that we should take very, very seriously — one we should be very deeply invested in, because that’s what society expects of us.Q: Have you experienced any pushback on that mission?A: There’s always a small group of people who say that “the boundary of business is set by the law.” I think that the importance of business to the well-being of society is now so large, and business ideas are penetrating into fields that were historically not even in the realm of business. Take social enterprise, as a great example, and how many of our students both come from social enterprise and are now engaged in social enterprise. People are talking about the triple bottom line impact of business, or that the 1,000 largest business organizations in the world influence roughly 40 percent of humanity in some way, shape, or form.Business is too important to the prosperity and well-being of society for business leaders to not have a deep sense of how they can conduct themselves in a way that genuinely advances the well-being of the world. Because it’s worth recognizing that the ability to operate a business with the freedoms that we have is given to us by society. There are many societies in which businesses are shut down. The public sector takes over everything. So to enjoy these freedoms, one must have a commensurate sense of responsibility. With freedom comes responsibility, otherwise the freedom gets taken away.Q: How will you know if your leadership here, both as a teacher and as an administrator, was successful?A: I find reunions at Harvard Business School particularly compelling moments. Because in many ways, when people come and talk about what the School meant to them and how it helped change their lives, I know that’s not the product of what I’ve done. That’s the product of what previous deans and previous generations of faculty at Harvard Business School have done that we benefit from.My hope is that future alumni will have even better stories to tell about what they got from Harvard Business School. That’s one measure — that we continue to produce alumni who will look back at their time at Harvard Business School and think about the arc of their lives and what they’ve been able to accomplish as having been deeply influenced by the time that they spent here.But no less importantly: Did we influence the field of management education? The intellectual capital of Harvard Business School has been a benchmark for many other business schools to emulate and follow. We are experienced as a leader not just by our alumni, but also by the field. That is another type of leadership position that I hope we will have strengthened during my time as dean.I do think that in some ways, the real measure is 20 years later. It’s not in five years. There’s no real scorecard in five years that you can feel.Q: Have you thought about what you’d like to do after this stage of your career? Where do you see yourself in, say, 10 or 15 years?A: I don’t know. I’ve always thought that in any senior leadership job, some number from eight to 12 years is the right length. Any leader who overstays that better do so with some real confidence that they’re continuing to add value to the organization. It’s not easy to have either the energy or the vision or the capacity to constantly reinvent yourself, and therefore an institution, over an extended period of time.You know, I have no idea. I do hope that I will find a way to either return to being a professor and teach, which I miss deeply, [or] maybe actually try my hand at business. But I haven’t given it much thought yet. I’m just enjoying what I’m doing too much.
Entering her ninth year as the president of Harvard University, Drew Faust has much to celebrate. With two years still to go, The Harvard Campaign has already helped ensure that the College will remain affordable for all students, created new professorships, supported expanded faculty research opportunities, and endowed two Schools, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).Harvard’s plans for Allston, which include a new home for SEAS and an Enterprise Research Zone, are steadily moving forward, as is Harvard’s House renewal program that recently unveiled a transformed Dunster House after a 15-month overhaul. Last November, the reimagined Harvard Art Museums opened its doors, and it continues to welcome students and classes as a robust arts teaching and learning lab. And this fall marks the start of an eagerly anticipated Theater, Dance, and Media concentration that will integrate arts even more fully into the life of the University.But there are challenges ahead, too. Making all students feel “fully included in the Harvard experience” is a top priority in the year to come, said Faust, as are “the issues of sexual assault and safety and full inclusion and participation in Harvard student life for women in the community.” Pushing for more federal funding for science is also at the top of her agenda, Faust said, as is her continued support of the importance of a liberal arts education.Faust recently sat down with the Harvard Gazette in her Massachusetts Hall office to discuss her priorities and her plans for the coming year at Harvard. She offered up her thoughts on a range of topics, including Harvard’s endowment, the University’s approach to climate change, the continuing importance of the liberal arts and humanities, as well as plans for her next book project and her love for country and western singer Willie Nelson.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: To start, President Faust, could you tell us what you see as your priorities for this year?FAUST: There are a number of exciting things going on that we want to push forward and pursue. And also a number of challenges.The [Harvard] Campaign is entering its third year, and we’ve done extremely well so far, but we’d like now to drill down on some areas where we think we need some extra pushing and extra attention. Those include House renewal and financial aid, the Allston science building, and then some extra push for some of the Schools that have gotten slower starts. For example, the Ed School had a brand-new dean when the campaign launched.As the campaign moves forward, we are also focused on making sure it reaches its goals in terms of what we want it to do for Harvard, such as ensuring access and affordability by supporting financial aid for students, improving the student experience through initiatives like House renewal, and underpinning academic programs, including the type of cross-disciplinary research and teaching that can bring us into the knowledge environment of a 21st-century university. It is less about the dollars than the impact those dollars can have for our students, faculty, and the world.Allston is another priority that is obviously related to the campaign. We recently received from John Paulson a very exciting gift to endow the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. As we imagine its presence in Allston and move forward on that building, we see real progress.There are a number of other aspects of Allston that we’d like to pay attention to this year. One is the enterprise research zone, the 30-plus-acre area that will have business research activity that isn’t necessarily directly sponsored by the University.The Continuum building, a mixed-use apartments and retail complex at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue in Allston, is opening now and has its first residents, and more people are going to be pouring into the area over the weeks and months to come. That will introduce a kind of activity and energy into the neighborhood, and it will be accompanied by additional development in retail and streetscapes.Then we’re also planning for the next academic venture, thinking about the Gateway building and what academic presence will be there, thinking about the variety of probably quantitatively related activities that will intersect well with the Business School and SEAS. We’re hopeful that a big-data initiative can be moved forward intellectually and also in terms of a physical presence there in the years to come. So Allston is a big area of commitment as well.I’m also very much looking forward to the launch of the Theater, Dance, and Media concentration, which will embody the goals of the Arts Task Force from eight years ago now. This represents a kind of signal moment for bringing the arts more firmly into the curriculum.I was thinking about this concentration and chatting with Diane Paulus about it a couple of days ago. She was saying one of her goals is that this be an attractive concentration for people who just love the arts and want to make the arts their lives, but also for students who may not be at all thinking of lives in the arts, but who can learn so much from the kind of collaboration, the kind of creativity, and also the kind of performance and presentation of self that this concentration will nurture and that can be used in so many other areas of professional life and personal life, as well. So that’ll be an exciting development.GAZETTE: What are some of the biggest challenges?FAUST: Over the past year or so in particular, with “Black Lives Matter” and “I, Too, Am Harvard,” students have expressed a sense that, although we’ve succeeded in creating a diverse student body, we haven’t done as well in making all of those students feel fully included in the Harvard experience. As I indicated in my Morning Prayers, that’s something that we will be attending to, especially in the context of the lawsuit related to ensure diversity in our student body through our admissions process.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerClosely related to this, of course, are the issues of sexual assault and safety and full inclusion and participation in Harvard student life for women in the community. The results of the sexual-conduct survey that was administered last spring will give us some data that will enable the [Harvard] Task Force [on the Prevention of Sexual Assault] to design ways that we can make a difference in combating this terrible problem on our campus and on university campuses across the United States.I’m also very focused on federal funding for science. This is a time when I think we’ve been getting a little bit more positive response to our arguments for science funding from the Congress for support of federal agencies like the [National Institutes of Health]. So I want to make sure to push that forward, as it is critical to everything we do.Another area of public concern on which I’ve spoken out quite a bit in recent years might be called the case for college, and particularly the case for the liberal arts. Those are arguments that I hope to advance both here at Harvard as we consider the Gen Ed review in the College, but also in the nation more broadly. We have seen this weekend the inauguration of a college scorecard, which the federal government adopted in lieu of the rankings system that they initially proposed and that I felt was completely at odds with the kinds of goals that we see as essential for college, in that they reduced the purpose of college to a financial outcome.Although, of course, we wish our students to have successful careers in terms of monetary rewards, we see college as being so much broader than that. I worry that throughout the nation there is a kind of reductionist attitude about college that forgets about the importance of citizenship, of exploration, of creativity, of increased self-knowledge ― all the things that we hope for in the lives that we try to offer our students here. Making those arguments will be an important part of what I try to do in the year to come.GAZETTE: You mentioned The Harvard Campaign. At last report, we’d already raised something like $5 billion toward the $6.5 billion goal, with two years left to go. Are we going to raise the goal?FAUST: We are not considering raising the goal at this time, but instead really focusing on the areas of the campaign that must succeed for the campaign to be a success. Those are the things I’ve talked about — Allston, financial aid, House renewal, funding for research and teaching in the humanities and sciences, and the needs of the individual Schools.GAZETTE: Along those lines, some commentators recently have been critical of the campaign, suggesting that Harvard’s already rich enough, and philanthropists like Mr. Paulson should direct their gifts elsewhere. Others have even gone as far as to say that large endowments should be taxed, should be required to spend money every year. How do you respond to that?FAUST: I’m always struck by the degree to which many of the commentators lack understanding about how our University finances work, what endowments are and what they do. The point of having an endowment is that it is forever. It is meant to be perpetual. It is meant to fund the activities for which it’s designated over eternity. That means that it is working capital. It earns money to fund those activities each year. But we also have to preserve the corpus of endowment gifts so that they can fund those activities 50 years from now, 500 years from now.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerThat means we have to be very careful and account for inflation, for example, because it does cost more to fund a professor now than it did 50 years ago. So we have to consider what the endowment can earn in a year, what is the appropriate amount of those earnings to take out in order to fund activities today, and also what percentage of those earnings we should leave in the endowment so that it will be large enough to continue to fund those activities into the future.Also, Harvard supports more than just students or the College. The endowment funds an art museum whose collection is among the largest in the United States; an arboretum that is an enormous, open public park for the people of Boston; Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C.; a Renaissance research center in Florence; the largest library system of any university in the world. It even funds a theater, the American Repertory Theater. It’s almost like a coalition of activities that is Harvard.So when we think about what that endowment is doing, that’s how to think about is it an appropriate size.Some critics have said we should take 8 percent out of the endowment each year. If we did that, given historic rates of return and what we anticipate in the future, we would erode the principal of the endowment, and the kinds of things that we’re doing now would not be affordable in the future.Our endowment pays for about 35 percent of the University’s operating budget. That grows to 50 percent in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It has enabled us, for example, to fund the extraordinarily generous financial aid that we provide to students in the College. It means that net tuition paid by families has actually gone down in recent years for Harvard students, because we have been able to fund more of that through endowment earnings over the past number of years. Because of the endowment, we’ve been able to award $1.4 billion in financial aid to undergraduates over the past decade.Were we to eliminate the endowment or lower the endowment or tax the endowment, where would the funding for our activities come from? In all likelihood, it would have to come from the pockets of individual families paying tuition. So it’s an odd thing to argue against endowments, when they are funding so many of the kinds of goals that matter most to the very critics of those endowments.GAZETTE: Turning to another important topic, can you give us your thoughts on Harvard’s efforts to address sexual assault?FAUST: It is obviously a very significant problem, as we’ve seen from the concern expressed by our students on campus in recent years. We’ll have a much better way of understanding the dimensions of the problem when the results of the sexual-conduct survey we commissioned last spring are made public. This issue is deeply concerning to all of us and we have done a lot in recent years to address it, but we expect that much more will be needed.GAZETTE: How should universities address this issue?FAUST: Considering this as a public-health problem is a helpful way to enable us to understand what effective responses can be, so that is part of the manner in which we’re addressing it.As you know, the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault has been meeting now for more than a year. They were really the sponsors of this survey. They’ve made some recommendations that I’ve adopted already in the course of their work ― more and better orientation materials and training, the SHARE website, which provides clearer information about where people can turn if they need help, the doubling of resources at the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response, and the survey itself. This is in addition to the creation of the new University-wide policy and the creation, for instance, of the new office ― the Office [for Sexual and Gender-Based] Dispute Resolution ― to professionally investigate reports of sexual assault.I anticipate that with the data from the sexual-conduct survey, they’ll be able to make, and will make, further recommendations to me and give me action items. But this must be a high priority for all of us, and it is going to be a very high priority for me in the coming months.GAZETTE: Provost Alan Garber recently updated the community about health benefits plans for 2016 after plans for 2015 met with some criticism. I wondered how you characterized the administration’s response.FAUST: We’ve tried to listen very carefully to faculty and staff about their concerns and about the shortcomings they saw in the plans that were proposed last year. The strongest message has been that there is a real desire to have plans in which there’s a completely measurable risk — in other words, where co-insurance and deductibles are not playing a prominent role, and where you may have to pay more in terms of premiums, but you are absolutely in control of what the cost to you might be.The University Benefits Committee recommended that we design such an option, and so we’ve tried to do that. We’re in an environment where health costs have gone up significantly this year in Massachusetts and are expected to continue to rise, so we have to incorporate that into the new plans. But we have designed different choices so that some of the concerns of those who spoke so loudly last year will be addressed.There was also a concern about lower-paid employees, and so we have attended to that with more support for individuals at that end of the pay scale.As a university, we remain committed to providing faculty and staff with high-quality, affordable health care options.GAZETTE: I know that health benefits is one of the issues under discussion with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers as part of their contract negotiations. I wonder if there’s anything you can tell us about those discussions and negotiations.FAUST: We all depend on — and deeply appreciate — the work that the members of HUCTW do. They have a wonderful tradition here at Harvard in all they’ve contributed to the University. We should all remember that our Christmas vacation is courtesy of HUCTW. That was one of the initiatives that they brought forward, and from which we all benefit enormously. So we’re looking forward to having continued positive interactions with them and with the staff whose work is so critical to the University and all it does.GAZETTE: I know public service has been a theme for you since you became president of Harvard. Why has it been such an important pillar for you?FAUST: Public service been an important dimension of my life and things that I’ve wanted to practice and have believed. But I was also very struck when I was named president and started meeting with undergraduates back in the spring of 2007. That was before the financial crisis. They were saying to me that they felt choices outside of financial services were not being offered as clearly to them and not being validated and honored. So I’ve tried to find ways to redress that balance and to show pathways towards public-service careers, and also to underscore how significant those kinds of choices are and how valuable they are for all of us.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerA Harvard education and being part of this community in general is such a privilege that we all should think about how we’re going to use that education to serve others. Whatever career choice people make — it could be a public-service career or it could be a private-sector career, but I think everyone’s life should have some element of public service. How do we open that up to people? How do we make them look upon that as an honorable calling, and in some sense a moral imperative? Activities like those that the Mindich family gift is going to enable are an important part of that.Pursuing a career in public service is highly correlated with having the opportunity to do some sort of significant public service as an undergraduate. So we’ve tried to make that pathway one that students could embark upon.Public service is a University-wide imperative and tradition. The Law School has a public-service requirement for students. And several of the Schools are almost entirely about public service. Public health and education, for instance, are about serving society. And the Kennedy School clearly is dedicated to public service. “Ask what you can do” is their ethos.GAZETTE: Climate change was obviously a huge topic last year, with advocates of fossil-fuel divestment protesting here at Massachusetts Hall. Why do you and the Corporation feel that divestment is really the wrong tactic for Harvard? Do you believe the University has a role to play? If so, what is that role?FAUST: The University has an enormously important role to play in addressing climate change. We educate individuals who can be leaders in advancing the science and the public policies that will help us address this terrible threat. Our faculty produce the kinds of discoveries and policy approaches that will prove both critical and substantive.In the Engineering School, for example, researchers have been moving forward about how to store solar power better in batteries. Rob Stavins in the Kennedy School has been deeply involved in preparing for the Paris talks on climate change. In the Law School, Jody Freeman has worked on regulation, both at Harvard and in her previous role in the White House.In addition to teaching and research, we make a contribution as a community by working to reduce our own carbon footprint. Long before some of our peers, we established a climate-change-reduction goal for Harvard’s campus. Since that time, we’ve reduced our emissions by 21 percent.GAZETTE: What about divestment?FAUST: I don’t think that divestment is an appropriate tool, because I don’t think the endowment should be used for exerting political pressure. It is meant to fund the wide range of activities that the University undertakes. As we said before, 35 percent of our operating budget comes from the endowment. That is why people gave their funds to create the endowment. It should not be used as a weapon to exert pressure on one group or another.Many of those advocating divestment from fossil fuels don’t think about the variety of other causes that will be put forward as divestment opportunities. How do we decide as an institution which ones we would see as worthy of our entering the political realm to exert pressure? There’s a terrible slippery slope there.Universities enjoy many of the privileges that they’re given in our society — tax-free status, for example, other kinds of toleration of enormous amounts of free speech and free expression — because we are seen as not acting in political ways, that it comes from our nonpartisanship, our not committing ourselves to exert political pressure. I worry that if we start using our resources to do that, we open ourselves to all kinds of interventions and political pressures exerted against us, because we have decided to participate in exerting political pressure on issues ourselves.There are many dangers and it has little effective outcome. What would it mean if we sold our investments? Very little, because there are plenty of other people who will invest in those firms.I believe it is better to have organizations like Harvard that can exert pressure on those companies as shareholders and say, be accountable to us about how you are going to undertake sustainable investments at a time when your future as a company depends on that. We can use our institutional shareholder status more effectively in that way than by removing ourselves from investment.GAZETTE: But Harvard has divested in the past, from tobacco, Sudan, and South Africa.FAUST: Yes, but there is an important difference between those examples and fossil fuels. I believe that when we decide that something is so heinous that we want nothing to do with it ― we wish to withdraw, not to be connected to it — that is a time when it’s appropriate for us to remove our investments from such activities. That was the case in Sudan. That is the case with tobacco. It certainly isn’t the case with fossil fuels that we use every day to come to campus, to travel, to light and heat our buildings.GAZETTE: Last year, you presided over the reopening of the Harvard Art Museums. This fall, you’ll take part in the launch of the new concentration in Theater, Dance, and Media. At a time when society is ever more focused on providing students with particular skills to compete in the job market, why are the arts and humanities still such a focus for you as president?FAUST: First of all, they are an essential part of being human, and universities are about more than vocational training. They’re about nurturing the heritage of humankind and sharing it with future generations. That’s just a part of our essential mission.On a purely practical level, the study of the humanities prepares people for the world ahead, providing them with the tools to make discerning judgments. It is about being sophisticated in understanding the uses of language, of visual representation. It is also about creativity, about imagination, about being able to get outside your own little realm of experience and understand what used to be, so you can understand what might be.You also are in a time when everybody is going to have a global context in which they live and work, whether they do so in Boston or whether they move to the other side of the globe. Having some sense of different cultures, different heritages, different sets of assumptions, different values among the people of the world is key to being able to operate with people who are different from yourself. The arts and humanities enable us to do so much of that, and I think are the key to the kind of human and humane insight that we all need in order to live together effectively.GAZETTE: On a slightly more personal note, I’m wondering, as a historian, how do you feel the study of history has enriched your life, but also maybe enriched your presidency?FAUST: It’s been very important to me. I don’t know if I became a historian because I think the way I do, or if I think the way I do because I became a historian. But when someone presents me a problem, I want to know where did it come from, what’s the history of it, how did this originate, what’s the backstory? I always feel that a conflict in the present, an opportunity in the present, is so shaped by where it came from. I operate very much as a historian, recognizing that issues don’t just drop out of the sky.But also, history is about change. It’s about how change happens, what makes people resist change, what makes people embrace change. Leading an organization is about change. It’s about moving that institution from one place to another place in terms of moving through time, moving through challenges, and understanding change and how it happens is critical to doing that.GAZETTE: I know you probably don’t have a lot of time to work on book projects, but in the future, when you do have more time, I wondered if there’s anything that’s been nagging at you — any thoughts, any ideas for a future project?FAUST: When I think about that, I worry about all the books in my field that I haven’t read over the past, really, almost 15 years now, since I got to Radcliffe, though I did finish the death book [“This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War”] while I was serving as dean. But in my field, the Civil War, something like 125, 150 books come out every year, so I’m really behind.What appeals to me, and maybe is a partial solution to this, is I wrote a biography early in my career as a historian, and I loved writing biography. So I might return to biography and use the lens of a single life as a means of getting back into a broader literature and follow an individual through some period of time and use that as the education of me, as well as a chance to write some history again.I have found myself really fascinated in the past year or two with World War I and some of the comparisons with the Civil War. I’ve written a little bit about that, but I don’t know if that’ll go anywhere further.GAZETTE: I heard you recently met Willie Nelson.FAUST: Oh, my heart be still! He was fabulous. I’ve been a Willie Nelson fan since I was in graduate school at least. For a while, I was an official member of the Willie Nelson Fan Club. When I moved once, they lost my address, and I never got back on the list. But I had my little membership card. I’ve seen him perform a whole lot of times. So it was such a treat to get to meet him.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: What’s he like in person?FAUST: I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, but he was just very warm and terrific, and he went out and gave, at age 82, a spectacular performance. It was really fun.