Dear Members of the Harvard Community,


Looking out at our graduates and their friends and families at this year's Commencement, I was filled with amazement and gratitude. This was an extraordinary year to be at Harvard. A celebratory autumn gave way to an unrelenting winter that seemed as if it would never end, and we welcomed spring with more than customary joy. A green Tercentenary Theatre and the golden voice of our honorand Renée Fleming were, for me, a reminder that Harvard bears all seasons, eager as ever before in its history to advance and celebrate human achievement.

Entering the second year of The Harvard Campaign presented opportunities for me to share stories about some of the remarkable research undertaken throughout the University. Alumni across the country and around the globe—from Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle to Beijing and Mexico City—gathered with gusto and heard firsthand from faculty experts about the origins of creativity, the roots of inequality, and the role of research in creating new ways to see and understand the world. No matter where I found myself this year, I discovered people deeply proud of our efforts, be they to establish a new concentration in theater, dance, and media; launch an innovative program to train would-be teachers; shed light on the origin and transmission of the Ebola virus; or sustain international partnerships focused on addressing the dramatic effects of climate change.

Two landmark acts of extraordinary philanthropy will create even more opportunities for faculty and students to lead change. We opened the academic year with the announcement of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and celebrated all that the Morningside Foundation's remarkable gift will enable as we continue to develop solutions to the world's most challenging health problems. Last week, we gathered to commend and thank John A. Paulson for an inspiring—and unprecedented—act of generosity: the endowment of what will now be known as the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His transformative support will place the School on sound footing as it establishes itself in new spaces on our campus in Allston, deploys knowledge in service to humanity, and pushes the boundaries of discovery.

Emerging and outstanding spaces developed, opened, and acknowledged throughout the year will support learning and teaching for generations to come. Planning for the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center and renovation of the Houses continued apace, with undergraduates returning to Leverett House's revitalized McKinlock Hall and witnessing the renewal of Dunster House. November saw the triumphant return of the Harvard Art Museums on Quincy Street. Three museums have been brought together under one soaring roof after a six-year period of renovation and renewal, and transformed into a teaching machine that puts more of our magnificent collections to use in exciting ways. Rounding out the academic year is the 100th anniversary of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, an iconic and far-reaching institution that is a lasting symbol of the vast and varied accomplishments of individuals.

We also appointed new leaders who will shape the course of Harvard's future. Francis J. Doyle III will become dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, succeeding interim dean Harry Lewis. Archon Fung will serve as acting dean of the Harvard Kennedy School until Douglas Elmendorf takes the helm in January. Stephen Blyth was named president and chief executive officer of Harvard Management Company, and we also welcomed Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance Thomas Hollister and Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Paul Andrew to the ranks of senior leadership.

There are many more examples from the past year deserving of our attention and praise, countless moments that continue to define and distinguish this amazing place. We raised the sights of young people and connected with our neighbors at a new community center, sharing Harvard more broadly to spark the aspirations of future thinkers and doers. We witnessed the return of forgotten recordings of a literary legend, the release of an important study that expands what we know about online learning, the development of soft robotic gloves that may change the lives of people with hand injuries—the impressive list goes on. It is difficult to capture in as brief a message as this one even a glimpse of all that has made this a wonderful—and wonderfully inspiring—year at Harvard. For now, let us take a moment to appreciate that there is, perhaps, no better problem to have.

With best wishes,

Drew Faust