Andrew L. Farkas ’82 and Sandi Goff Farkas
I Choose Harvard...
As an undergraduate, Andrew L. Farkas ’82 spent some of his most memorable times with Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club, the social organization long tied to Harvard’s creative life. So when the opportunity arose to celebrate the stunning performing arts space for students that now fills the club’s original 1888 home, and to showcase Hasty Pudding history in its lobby, he seized it.
Through a major renovation and expansion, Harvard transformed the deteriorated 1888 structure at 12 Holyoke St. into a vibrant performance, rehearsal, and learning space for Harvard undergraduates. The six-story complex, under construction from 2005 to 2007, retained its original façade and entryway but now houses a handsome 270-seat theater with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, a moveable stage, and other modern amenities, along with a dance studio, classrooms, and offices for arts-related student groups. It was dubbed the New College Theatre until being renamed in October 2011.
Thanks to Farkas and his wife, Sandi, the brick building—long occupied by the Hasty Pudding Club and Hasty Pudding Theatricals—also showcases the organizations’ pivotal role at Harvard through posters, photographs, and plaques displayed in the elegant Hasty Pudding Lobby. The space has been both refreshed but preserved, “and that is wonderful,” says Andrew, who served as club president for two years and is now a real estate investor in New York. “This is the Hasty Pudding’s historic home.”
"Harvard gave me a canvas on which to reinvent myself. I loved every second of it.”
Farkas Hall honors Robin Farkas, who raised Andrew and his brother, Bradford L. Farkas ’84, MBA ’90, on his own for many years. “He has been my father, my mentor, my best friend, and my role model, and he talked me into choosing Harvard,” Andrew explains. “My Harvard experience completely informed who I became. I arrived as an awkward, insecure fellow with great ambition but modest direction. Harvard gave me a canvas on which to reinvent myself. I loved every second of it.”
His academic highlight was writing an economics thesis for (the late) Otto Eckstein, Warburg Professor of Economics. Outside class, the Adams House resident found his niche in the A.D. final club and Hasty Pudding Club, which began in the late 1700s and required members to bring pots of grain pudding to meetings. Five U.S. presidents, from John Adams to John F. Kennedy, belonged. The country’s oldest collegiate social club, now based on Garden Street, spawned the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and its famously outrageous all-male revues, as well as the Harvard Krokodiloes and Radcliffe Pitches a cappella groups, which have offices in Farkas Hall.
Today, Farkas, a father of three who is coleading his 30th Reunion Class Gift Committee, is chairman and CEO of Island Capital Group, a real estate-oriented private equity firm. Sandi is a playwright, screenwriter, and founder of Playwrights of New York, which supports emerging playwrights with fellowships.
Several generations of Farkases attended a dedication in February, among them Arielle Farkas ’13, also a Hasty Pudding member. It was a reminder of how the family’s legacy is now written into the narrative of this irreplaceable building and performance space, Farkas Hall.