President's Message . . .
Dear Harvard Alumni,
What a strange time to be writing this message. Our region and our community are in the midst of historic crises. We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing upheaval. We are confronting uncomfortable truths about racism, bias, inequality, and injustice all around us, and witnessing appalling acts of persistent racism. And we are dealing with an economic recession and rippling aftershocks that have cost many their jobs. It certainly renders the day to day goings on of alumni organization immaterial, especially when we are socially distanced.
The role of our chapter has to change to meet this moment. We remain an all-volunteer organization, tasked with helping interview (remotely) the next generation of Harvard undergraduates, and with working to foster new connections amongst alumni. Our Board and many other alumni chapters in the Harvard alumni community agree that 2020-2021 will have to be year of adaptation, flexibility, and creativity. We won’t have our in-person gatherings this Fall, and the same may be true this Spring. But at the risk of Zoom fatigue, we are planning to bring alumni together virtually on crucial topics like racial and social justice, the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigating the economic fallout from the recession. We will hear from Judith Williams, Global Head of People Sustainability & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at SAP; from Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative; from Dr. Marisa Porges, Head of the Baldwin School and author of What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women; and from Suzanne Nossel, author of Dare to Speak, Defending Free Speech for All, among others.
It will be a difficult year, and less convenient in many ways. But our hope is that at the end of the 2020-2021 year we will have found ways to join together that are meaningful, that reflect the needs of this moment, and embody a can-do spirit in uncertain times.
This year will have its challenges -- we will do our best to bring alumni together in a spirit of strength and unity to create a place that everyone can go to to connect with other alums, to listen, to learn, to grow, and to work together. We hope you will join the club or renew your membership and join us at our first virtual event on October 1st with Suzanne Nossel (Click here for details).
I hope you’ll join us as we face and embrace the challenges ahead together.
Luke McLoughlin, AB ‘00
President, Harvard Club of Philadelphia