Eli Aheto

Managing Director, General Atlantic BeyondNetZero Climate Fund

Eli Aheto

House Affiliation:

Cabot House

First-Year Dorm:

Weld

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Economics, cum laude, MBA ’04

Harvard-Related Activities:

First Marshal, freshman crew, Let’s Go travel guides, Harvard Yearbook Publications, Cabot intramurals.

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Co-chair, Class of 1997 Reunion Gift Committee 5th–15th Reunions; Chair, Citizen Schools New York Board of Advocates; Chair, Sponsors for Educational Opportunities (SEO); Harvard College alumni interviewer; Harvard College Fund Associates Donor; 1636 Loyalty Society

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

I was fortunate to attend Harvard through the generosity of Lee and Marvin Traub and the scholarship they established to support incoming students. My experience at Harvard embodies the best of what education can create: opportunities for growth, achievement, and lasting personal connections. These connections remain the thing that I cherish the most and continue to draw on in the years since graduation. Since leaving Cambridge in 1997, I have had the pleasure of working and living alongside our classmates. Other alums have opened doors in countries across the planet. I’ve had the opportunity to absorb exalted insights from our peers in their chosen professions. Last year, I married our classmate Carolyn Magill, after we reconnected at our 20th Reunion. I have also had the opportunity to invest professionally in two markets (Asia and Africa) that were the subject of my studies, putting to work concepts we now call sustainable development goals. Every so often, I will meet a new classmate or member of the Harvard community and it will be apparent to me how each has, in their own way, created a rich life with meaning and the benefit of being in our community.

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Amara Teresa Balthrop-Lewis (married 2004, Amara Hastings)

Mother of four; community advocate for the environment; education, and the arts, artist

Amara Hastings

House Affiliation:

Eliot House

First-Year Dorm:

Stoughton

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Special Concentration: Creativity in the Arts, cum laude in field

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Radcliffe crew coxswain; editor, The Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard ’96-’97; Let’s Go researcher/writer: California and Hawaii, London, Greece and Turkey; Crimson Key Society; First-Year Outdoor Program; Phillips Brooks House Association, started a program teaching ballet at Mission Grammar School in Roxbury; volunteer and coordinator, International Peace Games; Eliot House crew

Post College: Harvard 25th Reunion Subsidy Committee Chair, raising funds to make our 25th Reunion accessible and affordable for our entire class; Harvard College Fund volunteer; 1997 Gift Committee (10th–25th Reunions; Harvard College Fund President’s Associates Donor; marshal, Committee for the Happy Observance of Commencement, 15th, 20th Reunions; Harvard College Alumni interviewer; member, 1636 Loyalty Society; member, Harvard Club of Southern California; member, Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment. I love participating in as many Harvard Alumni Association events as I can—in person and on Zoom—and have especially benefited from and recommend the recent panels on climate change. My kids love them, too!

Achievements and Honors:

The greatest achievement and honor of my life is to parent our four children. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to be a mother and hoped I would be able to focus full time on that endeavor. It wasn’t a popular dream job stated by many of our classmates, and there certainly were no recruiters coming to OCS to talk to us about this option. I knew it would not bring the kind of recognition that many of us may have been seeking, but it was, for me, what I wanted most in life. I have always found children to be endlessly interesting, entertaining, capable, and inspiring. Children’s imagination and creativity are innate and limitless, and I believe we as a culture should do all we can—through education and parenting, and sometimes simply getting out of the way—to nurture and encourage the natural curiosity and wonder of our children. I am glad that I have found a way, with my husband, Al, to be a mother of four, and to give my energy to raising them. As a part of raising kids, I have also continued to learn about education. I was homeschooled until fifth grade, created my own concentration at Harvard, and have homeschooled some of our children. I mostly enjoy it, but it also causes the greatest heartache and struggle. It is rewarding and always daunting. And as you know, there is very little recognition for being a parent. So while it may not look like much of an achievement, for me, it has been.

At our graduation, I received the Edward H. Potter Prize in Eliot House. It is awarded every year to one or more students at Eliot House who best fulfill “the great enthusiasm and curiosity for truly eclectic learning exhibited in his lifetime by Edward H. Potter.” I guess because I didn’t think of myself as an award-winning type I always thought of it as “the slightly kooky person’s award.” However, it was an honor to receive the award mostly because I shared it with two people I admire deeply—my blockmate and dear friend Dan Goor and the wonderful Daniel Kim. Kooky, too, perhaps in their own ways, but deserving of any and every award, in my opinion.

I am honored (and amazed) to be nominated to serve as our 25th Reunion chief marshal.

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

For the past 16 years I have devoted my time and energy almost entirely to parenting our four children. The majority of the rest of my efforts go toward charitable work in the areas of environmental health, climate change, art, and education.

Much of my energy goes towards environmental efforts—working with and supporting the work of Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Environmental Health (CEH).

I am currently working with Alice Waters, with whom we have opened a new restaurant, Lulu, at the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles. Beyond sourcing our food from local regenerative farms, the larger mission of the restaurant is to persuade large institutions to source their food from regenerative agriculture as a way to help address the climate crisis and heal our planet. Additionally, our family recently purchased an empty lot next to our home and is in the process of creating an organic urban farm that will help to provide food for hungry people in our community.

Several years ago, with the help of the CEH, I worked hard to rid parks and playing fields in schools and other public places of crumb rubber (used rubber tires). This is a carcinogenic material—unhealthy for our children and the environment—and I was successful in leading teams of people in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, as well as other parts of the country, as we encouraged schools and cities to replace this material with nontoxic alternatives for playing fields.

The last time I was employed as a full-time artist was the year before we started College, when I was a dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Since retiring as a ballet dancer I have found other forms of artistic expression and delight, among them, filmmaking, writing, growing things, and cooking. Spending time close to things in the natural world sustains me. I take photographs of flowers, plants, and dead things, often very close up. And one fine week of my life, I choreographed a Mumford & Sons music video, “Hopeless Wanderer,” and had an absolute blast.

I also give time and resources to many schools and arts organizations.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

Being a member of our Harvard community has been both humbling and inspiring since the beginning of my relationship with this wonderful place. You people are amazing, and to be able to live amongst all of you from the fall of 1993 until June of 1997 will always be one of the very best parts of my life. I think often, and especially during this pandemic, about who we would be without one another. I believe we are who we are because we have each other. Like many of you, I count my relationships with our Harvard classmates as among the most formative and important in my life. You have elevated me with your presence and I hope I have done the same for some of you. To continue to know many of you over the years since we graduated means the world to me and I hope to see as many of you as possible at our Reunion in June.

I would be honored to serve as chief marshal for our 25th Reunion. I know I would enjoy it very much. But if you are wondering why in the world my name is on this list, amongst these extraordinary nominees to serve as our 25th Reunion chief marshal, you are not alone. I am wondering the same thing. Mostly, I just can’t wait to see you and your families in the Yard in June.

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Grace Cheng Dodge

Head of School, Taipei American School

Grace Cheng Dodge

House Affiliation:

Currier House

First-year Dorm:

Grays (East)

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Applied Mathematics, cum laude

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Deputy chief of staff/chief of staff, Harvard Model Congress; European Summer Tour manager/special projects manager, Radcliffe Choral Society; 'Cliffe Notes; Undergraduate Admissions Council

Post College: HBS research assistant; assistant director of admissions for staff development/senior admissions officer/admissions officer, Harvard College Undergraduate Admissions Office; admissions liaison for women's hockey and softball teams; director of admissions tour guide program; director of April Visiting Program for admitted students (now called "Visitas"); non resident tutor, Currier House; first-year non residential academic advisor; Faculty of Arts and Sciences mentor for University-wide employees; Harvard Higher Education Leaders Forum; resident faculty member, Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions (2014–19)

Achievements and Honors:

U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools traveling delegate to Europe (2016–18); Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy licensed certified public accountant (1998–present); presenter at National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Conferences, NACAC Guiding the Way to Inclusion Conference, College Board National and Regional Forums, New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) Advanced Secondary School Counselor Summer Institute, Educational Collaborative for International Schools Conference, East Asia Regional Council of Schools Conference

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Chair-elect, New England Regional Council of The College Board (2017–18); founding advisory board member, Mochi Magazine (longest-running online publication for Asian American Women); community cooking instructor, Cambridge Center for Adult Education/Newton Community Education/Brookline Adult and Community Education; volunteer teacher, Citizen Schools

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

At our 15th Reunion, I was on a panel that focused on unique career paths taken by classmates. I was about to start working at Harvard for the second time, after having had a short career in public accounting and having just returned from abroad. I consider myself so lucky to have worked in the Admissions Office and charged with finding students who would thrive at Harvard. What a trip to have also worked with people who admitted me!

Through my work in admissions and counseling, I quickly realized my calling is to work with young people. I am now one of the few female heads of school of color in the world, entrusted with preparing over 2,400 students ages 4–18 for an ever-changing world outside of Taiwan. It is incredibly fulfilling to help students nurture their curiosity; find fun in learning; empower themselves with self-confidence, joy, and optimism; embrace open-mindedness when learning with others from similar or different backgrounds; and just to be able to lend a supportive ear when they need an extra person around to trust. My Harvard classmates did all the same for me and I cannot be more grateful.

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Kristen Clarke

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice

Kristen Clarke

House Affiliation:

Currier House

First-year Dorm:

Weld

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Government and African American Studies, cum laude in field

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Harvard Black Students Association; Institute of Politics; Phillips Brooks House Association, PBHA Mission Hill After-School Programs; Quincy House Grill; Junior year study abroad (South Africa); Andre Mellon Foundation Fellowship; Ford Foundation Fellowship

Achievements and Honors:

I am honored to have had the privilege of spending my entire professional career working to advance equal justice under law for all communities, especially those most vulnerable among us. I have worked as a civil rights lawyer on behalf of the federal government, New York State, and 2 national nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organizations. My work has encompassed virtually every area of civil rights, including voting rights, equal educational opportunity, fair housing and fair lending, equal employment, economic justice, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental justice, hate crimes, and criminal justice reform.

Post College: After graduating from law school, I started my career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. I worked for three years in the Voting Section handling voting rights cases across the country, with a focus on the Deep South. I then served as a federal prosecutor handling hate crimes, police misconduct, and human trafficking cases.

After Hurricane Katrina, I moved on to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help address some of the challenges that communities faced in the Gulf region after the storm. I also helped lead LSF's legal strategy to defend the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act in two cases that eventually made their way to the Supreme Court, including Shelby County v. Holder. In Shelby, we were successful in the district court and the Court of Appeals. However in June 2013, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that cut the heart out of this critical law.

I then served as chief of the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's office. In that position, I led civil rights enforcement efforts across the state of New York taking on banks engaged in unlawful redlining, schools that failed to provide a safe environment for LGBTQ communities, retailers engaged in unlawful racial profiling of consumers, and much more. I had the privilege of working alongside Alvin Bragg AB ’95, JD ’99, who is getting ready to serve as Manhattan's next district attorney.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

I served as president and executive director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights organization founded at the request of John F. Kennedy SB ’40. I led the Lawyer's Committee's national Election Protection coalition, the nation's largest and longest-running nonpartisan voter protection program. I also launched the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, a national project focused on combating and responding to hate crimes against marginalized communities. In 2019, our organization won a landmark victory against a white supremacist organization, the Daily Stormer, for waging an online racial harassment campaign against a Black student at American University.

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Certified Instructor, The American National Red Cross Program on HIV/AIDS Prevention Education; regional chair, Choate Rosemary Hall Alumni Association; board member, Columbia Law School Alumni Association of Washington, D.C.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

In my junior year, I ventured abroad to spend the fall semester in South Africa, along with several Harvard classmates. We were there in 1995, just a year following the collapse of apartheid, and had the opportunity to see a new democracy beginning to take shape. I spent much of my time soaking in hours and hours of conversations with students excited to be part of this new democratic process. I talked with young people struggling to find their place in society after spending a lifetime resisting a violent and repressive government. I witnessed the first post-apartheid local elections which produced long lines of citizens eager to reshape government from top to bottom. This experience helped me to truly understand and appreciate what democracy means and has shaped my outlook on some of the challenges that we have faced here in the U.S. I have committed much of my work to fighting for a democracy that is free from barriers and restrictions and that allows all people to have a full and equal voice.

I am also grateful for the enduring friendships and bonds formed during my time at Harvard. It has been inspiring to see so many classmates making rich contributions in virtually every sector and corner of society.

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Jill Ford

Investor

Jill Ford

House Affiliation:

Pforzheimer House

Freshman Dorm:

29 Garden Street

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Computer Science

Harvard-Related Activities:

Any time you saw me on campus, I was probably covered in multicolored chalk dust. I discovered that being a board washer in the Science Center offered the highest pay per minute of any job on campus. The acoustics in the lecture halls were also amazing for singing while I washed the boards. So, I signed up to wash every board I could each semester. I also worked in Hilles Library, as a puppy sitter for a professor, and in every odd job that I could fit into my schedule.

I loved being a part of Kuumba, the Harvard Society of Black Scientists & Engineers, and the Harvard Black Women Association. Living with alumnae for the Radcliffe Externship program created lifelong friendships. I was an actress in just about every student play I could fit in. When I was not acting, I was supporting creative initiatives by creating posters or whatever else might be needed.

I have been a member of Harvard Clubs in cities in which I have lived, including the Harvard Club of New York and the Harvard Club of San Francisco. I have attended every Reunion. My response to every invitation to join a committee or help an initiative related to Harvard has been an enthusiastic yes.

Achievements and Honors:

I have been drawn to opportunities that enable me to empower people to rethink what is possible and achieve it. A visit to Detroit led to a Harvard schoolmate introducing me to Mayor Duggan. The mayor asked me to join his team and created the role of head of innovation and entrepreneurship. He asked me to figure out what Detroit should do to be attractive and supportive of small business owners and entrepreneurs of all types after the bankruptcy and make it happen.

I started by talking to entrepreneurs to learn about the pain points and opportunities. I loved hearing the stories of people building and growing businesses, often across generations, and through years of ups and downs.

Through public and private partnerships, I envisioned, codesigned, and launched programs such as the Motor City Match. This program continues to support small businesses starting or expanding into vacant commercial spaces in Detroit with up to $500,000 in grant funding each quarter.

For the launch of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, I visited businesses across Detroit’s neighborhoods. Creating access to capital requires overcoming both actual and perceived barriers. Our conversations helped people to trust in what was possible for them through this program. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has been replicated in four cities and JP Morgan Chase announced that they will take it national.

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

I was mostly raised by my grandmother. I launched a scholarship program within my high school to encourage students to appreciate the elders in their families and communities. The four-year scholarship’s design included a stipend for each student to use to express gratitude to, or honor the memory of, the elder spoken about in their essay.

While in Detroit, I noticed that some young professionals were in between jobs, trying to figure out what to do next. I created an apprenticeship program through which they could work with me on projects that would position them for the next step in their careers or education.

Each apprentice stayed with me for about three months, receiving coaching from me. The peer mentorship that formed between the apprentices was also wonderful to see. Each of my five apprentices got into their targeted full-time job, and I had the joy of writing a recommendation letter for one of them to attend Harvard Business School. The apprenticeship program also served as the model for a mentorship society to be added to our 106-year-old Detroit Athletic Club.

The apprenticeship program illuminated the importance of going beyond mentorship into sponsorship. For those I have taken under my wing, I have not stopped at opening doors. I have created doors.

I am especially excited about the possibility of becoming our chief marshall because of the platform it will provide to encourage more of this. As Harvard alumni, we have more opportunities than we might realize to bring others along, whether through direct sponsorship, sharing the inspiring stories of our lived examples, or just being authentically interested and encouraging.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

From my community, it was considered a moonshot for me to even think about applying to Harvard. I was coming from an inner-city public high school with high rates of dropouts, deaths, and pregnancies. There were no college graduates within my family or our circle of friends.

I have always been attracted to big challenges. The chance to know, rather than wonder, if I could attend Harvard was compelling. The idea drew intrigue and support from throughout my neighborhood. Getting that “Yes” letter was an achievement for us all.

By the time I arrived at Harvard, I had faced many challenges. However, I had never felt fear until I stepped on campus. I recognized fear as a shift from asking “what if I can?” to “what if I can’t?”—what if my ability to succeed would not translate to this very different set of classrooms?

Identifying fear empowered me to overcome it. I learned how to remove fear from my decisions. I embraced evolving and each failure along the way earned me greater resilience. Allowing myself to accept help forged mutually supportive bonds that ran deeper than I could have imagined possible.

As a child, seeing a person who was not Black was rare for me. My Harvard experience underscored that the commonality of being “like me” runs across many more dimensions than ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic background. Harvard surrounded me with different examples of the journeys of becoming your best self. Some paths were straight. All were fascinating.

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Dan Goor and Mike Schur

Nominated together
Screenwriters/Producers

Dan Goor

Mike Shur

House Affiliation:

Goor: Eliot House
Schur: Adams House

Freshman Dorm:

Goor: Canaday F
Schur: Matthews

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

Goor: AB ’97 Biochemical Sciences, magna cum laude
Schur: AB ’97 English and American Literature and Language, magna cum laude

Harvard-Related Activities:

Goor: On Thin Ice (improv), HRDC (theater), Visual A.I.D.E.S. (theater)
Schur: Harvard Lampoon (theater), Phi Beta Kappa

Achievements and Honors:

Goor: Two Emmy Awards, two Writers Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards, and a Golden Globe for Musical or Comedy TV Show for Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2014)

Schur: Two Emmy Awards (20 nominations), three Peabody Awards, two Writers Guild Awards (17 nominations), two Television Critics Association Awards, Comedy Writer of the Year (Montreal Comedy Festival, 2014), Comedy Writer of the Year (Austin Film Festival, 2021)

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Goor: I strongly believe in the importance of representation in media. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the show I co-created with Mike and that I was the showrunner of for eight seasons, had one of the most diverse casts on network television. It included Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ characters who were funny, complete human beings. In contrast to many other sitcoms, their ethnic backgrounds and sexualities were always treated as just a part of who they were and not as the entirety of their personality, and certainly never as a punchline. In 2017, after Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who played Detective Rosa Diaz, came out as bisexual in real life, we had her character come out on the show. When she said the words, “I am bisexual” on air, it was the first time that a main character on a network TV show (who was not a villain and who was not immediately killed off afterward) actually used the word “bisexual” to describe herself. After she came out, Captain Holt, the squad’s gay commanding officer, said to her, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place." It is the line from the show that I am most proud of because I have heard from so many people, especially young, Latinx people, that this story and that line helped them come out to their parents. That season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the GLAAD Award for Best TV Comedy.

Schur: How to Be Perfect, a book on ethics and moral philosophy, to be published January 25, 2022, with 100 percent of all proceeds donated to charity. The “Parks and Recreation Reunion Special” in 2020 raised more than $5 million for Feeding America.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

Goor: Sophomore year, I played the part of a gold statue in a one-act play in the Loeb Experimental Theater. The cast was amazing and I got to deliver a super funny monologue at the end of the show, but for the first 70 minutes, my job was just to stand completely still on a pedestal in a skimpy pair of bike shorts, covered from head-to-toe in gold spray paint. No sneezing, no scratching, no dwelling on the fact that I didn’t have a classic “statue body” or “any muscles.” It just so happened that the day after the play’s closing night, I had to take a biochemistry quiz on the chemical formulas of all the amino acids. I spent the entire time I was on that pedestal, trying to remember which carbon in threonine had the carboxyl group on it and whether lysine has two or three methylene groups. The play went great, the quiz went fine, but the overall experience was the kind of thing that could only happen at a magical place like Harvard. When else in my life will I get to be spray painted gold, perform in a play, and think about amino acids? The answer is: at our 25th Reunion.

Schur: When I was eight, I went to Chuck E. Cheese for a friend’s birthday party. I remember thinking, as I walked through the door, that this was as good as life gets. Whatever I wanted to do, I could do it. Every video game I’d ever heard of—there were five of them. Skee ball, Pop-A-Shot, pizza—all there for the taking. My brain fritzed out. That’s my best analogy for Harvard—an enormous playground, filled with fun stuff and good friends, ready to engage you in whatever activity strikes your fancy. Harvard is the largest and most expensive Chuck E. Cheese in the world. I miss it terribly, and I’m eagerly anticipating the specific blend of nostalgia and mortality reflection that awaits us at the 25th.

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Corinne Funk Hammons

President and Chief Executive Officer, Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York

Corinne Funk Hammons

House Affiliation:

Winthrop House

First-year Dorm:

Greenough

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Economics, cum laude

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Co-chair, Harvard-Radcliffe Women’s Leadership Project; Co-president, Radcliffe Union of Students; Editorial Columnist and member of the Business Board, the Harvard Crimson

Post College: Co-chair, 15th–25th Reunion; Member, Harvard Club of New York City (former member of the Women’s Portrait Committee, former chair of the Admissions Committee), 1997–present; Member, Harvard Club of Long Island, volunteer admission interviewer, 2004–present; Member, Harvard 1636 Loyalty Society

Achievements and Honors:

City & State Magazine “Responsible 100,” 2020; New York Women in Human Services Hall of Fame, 2019; Long Island Business News “40 Under 40,” 2014

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Most of my charitable work is through my job. Since 2015, I’ve been privileged to lead a 90-plus-year-old New York charity that serves vulnerable youth and adults through residential and community programs in NYC and Long Island. I also serve on the board of several umbrella organizations advancing this mission, including the Human Services Council of NY and the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies.

From 2018–21, I was the board chair of our daughters’ PK–8 independent school, as a volunteer activity outside of work. During this time, the school launched a Preschool Twos program, a strategic plan, and a capital campaign, as well as conducted a national head of school search. The school has stayed open fully in person during COVID.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

I expected my Harvard experience would be like high school—I envisioned myself spending four years in the library studying, making a few close friends, and joining a club if I had time. Plus, I was on crutches after a massive ankle injury, which bolstered my feeling that my College life would be quiet and sedate.

However, when I arrived in Cambridge from Baltimore, something totally unexpected happened: the world opened to me in technicolor! I met my dear friend Naomi Reid Medvedsek AB ’97 on my first day in Greenough. I adored our hallmates, proctors, and prefects. I joined the Crimson and started deep involvement there and at the Women’s Leadership Project and Radcliffe. I loved the Square, going to the Coop and the movies. I did study a lot, but not in the library—I preferred my dorm room, with the happy buzz of friends in and out of our propped-open door. Instantly and permanently, I felt a true sense of belonging at Harvard.

Four years later, on a chilly spring day in 1997, I was walking through Tercentenary Theatre to the Science Center and I was astounded to realize that I knew every single person that I passed by name. One by one, we all exchanged greetings. I stopped and said to myself, “Remember this moment. One day you will walk this same path and know no one. But you belong here and always will.” And it has been my great fortune that I have.

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Allyson Hobbs

Associate Professor, Department of History; Director, African & African American Studies; Kleinheinz University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, Stanford University

Allyson Hobbs

House Affiliation:

Pforzheimer House

First-year Dorm:

Wigglesworth A

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB '97 Social Studies, magna cum laude

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Crimson Key, Freshmen Prefect Program, Class Marshal/Class Committee, comp’ed The Crimson, Black Student Association, Association of Black Radcliffe Women, Harvard Arbitration Association, Harvard Black Register, First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP), Radcliffe Union of Students, intramural crew, Institute of Politics, Phillips Brooks House Association (conflict resolution program in Cambridge elementary schools and Peace Games)

Post College: Associate editor, Let’s Go: Central America; alumni interviewer

Achievements and Honors:

I enjoy writing about race and politics as a contributing writer for NewYorker.com. My work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, The Nation, TheRoot.com, The Guardian, Politico, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I have appeared on C-SPAN, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. I was honored by the Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP with a Freedom Fighter Award and I served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

My first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard University Press in 2014, examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late 18th century to the present. A Chosen Exile won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best debut book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history. The book was also selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014, a “Best 15 Nonfiction Books by Black Authors in 2014” by The Root, a featured book in the New York Times Book Review Paperback Row in 2016, and a Paris Review “What Our Writers Are Reading This Summer” selection in 2017.

I have won several teaching awards including the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize and Stanford’s highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

During the pandemic, I conceived and moderated a “Community Hour” that functioned as a “town square” and encouraged conversations about racial injustice and sought to create a sense of belonging and togetherness. The Community Hour began in March 2020 first as a weekly space for confidential conversations for Stanford students. Later, I opened the forum to the wider public and hosted guest speakers including Claudia Rankine, Eddie Glaude Jr., Jelani Cobb, Lonnie G. Bunch III, and Imani Perry.

I serve as a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and give talks around the country. I led a tour throughout the American South to acquaint Stanford alumni with major civil rights landmarks. I will lead a similar tour in the fall in Paris to explore the worlds of African American expatriates including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Josephine Baker.

I also teach classes for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. These classes are open to adult students everywhere. I strongly believe in the mission of this program: to share educational resources as widely as possible, to encourage intellectual curiosity and exploration, and to facilitate lifelong learning.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

I became a college professor because I never wanted to leave college. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been at Harvard when African American Studies was the leading department in the country. As the director of African and African American Studies at Stanford, I have tried to recreate that incredibly vibrant and energetic environment.

The relationships that I formed at Harvard and maintain today are even more vital and valuable to me than the academic inspiration that I found in the lecture halls. By a stroke of luck, we were brought together for four short years and, during that time, we forged lifelong friendships. The most important thing that I can teach my current students is to enjoy every minute of college: to seek out the abundant academic opportunities that an undergraduate education provides but, most importantly, to relish the wondrous times shared with their classmates.

Sometimes colleagues tell me that I am spending too much time on teaching or community-building endeavors. I see my mission as fundamentally about teaching and building relationships. I learned this at Harvard.

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Larry Huynh

Cofounder, Trilogy Interactive

Larry Huynh

House Affiliation:

Lowell House

First-year Dorm:

Stoughton

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Biochemical Sciences, cum laude in field

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Financial manager and publicity manager, Harvard Glee Club; manager, Harvard Glee Club Lite; Phillips Brooks House Association; Chinatown ESL; Mission Hill Afterschool; Asian American Association

Post College: Class of 1997 15th and 25th College Reunion Committee; Participation Co-chair, Class of 1997 15th–25th Class Gift Committee; i-lab advisor network; Harvard College alumni interviewer (15 years)

Achievements and Honors:

My parents escaped during the fall of Saigon with four young children (and me in utero) with hopes of the American dream for their children foremost in their minds. My greatest honor has been devoting much of my career to ensuring more people have access to the American dream my parents idealized in 1975.

In 2004, I cofounded Blackrock Associates (with Brent Blackaby AB ’96) to expand civic engagement using digital tools. Through a merger, we became Trilogy Interactive, a pioneering political and nonprofit digital advocacy firm. Since 2007, I have served as a political advisor to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and for the past 15-plus years have helped elect and advise over a dozen U.S. senators, including President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, and Amy Klobuchar. Our voter engagement work has helped Democrats win Senate majorities in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2020 and House majorities in 2018 and 2020. Overall, we’ve helped win 100+ campaigns at the ballot box to move our country forward.

My issue advocacy work has enshrined marriage equality in Washington prior to the Supreme Court ruling, enacted gun safety laws, protected a woman’s right to choose, and legalized marijuana in states across the country.

In the nonprofit sector, I have advanced policy goals via legislative and public affairs advocacy and helped raise over $1 billion for organizations fighting for safety and equality in our communities, including the Malala Fund, Color of Change, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Planned Parenthood.

After all these years, with an amazing team, I know we’ve moved the needle to make the country a better place, to make the American dream more accessible to everyone. I also know there’s so much work that still needs to be done, even something as fundamental as protecting the democratic process from those who seek power by any means necessary.

Honors:

Campaigns and Elections Rising Star in Politics; American Association of Political Consultants Inaugural 40 Under 40; National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs Inaugural 40 Under 40; 100+ industry awards for campaign excellence including the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) Golden Dot Award for Achievements in Digital Campaigns, Reed Award for Innovation in Political Campaigning, and Pollie Awards for Advertising, Fundraising, and Voter Engagement

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Current Board and Advisory Roles: Vice President, American Association of Political Consultants; Board Member, Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Asian Law Caucus

Past Board and Advisory Roles: Board Member, New Organizing Institute; secretary/treasurer, American Association of Political Consultants

In 2022, I will become the first person of color to serve as President of the American Association of Political Consultants. Those who run campaigns to elect our leaders do not reflect the diversity of our country. This must change. I intend to use my platform to help lift up younger and more diverse members of the political profession to ensure greater access and opportunity. If the people running the campaigns look more like America, our democracy is strengthened.

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

The journey from my birth in the refugee camp at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, to acceptance into the Harvard community transformed my life.

I met my incredible partner, Brent, in the Harvard Glee Club, and we have two (usually) great kids. Beyond my daily reminders of Harvard, I have always sought to stay connected to Harvard. My worldview, my approach to problem-solving, my perspective on my place and duty in society were certainly shaped by the institution but even more so by my classmates and other peers at Harvard. I enjoyed my four years immensely (maybe too much on occasion!), but the lifetime of friendships as we’ve navigated successes and failures, health and illness, and the craziness of the last two years has been the greatest gift. It has been a privilege to continue to grow and learn from my closest Harvard friends and from the many new connections over the last 25 years.

Finally, thank you to my parents and siblings. They took care of me. They gave me the opportunity to succeed. My hope is through my continued service to Harvard, I am opening the door wider for others to walk through to join this amazing community

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Jeffrey Lee

Venture Capitalist

Jeffrey Lee

House Affiliation:

Quincy House

Harvard Degree/Concentration:

AB ’97 Economics, cum laude

Harvard-Related Activities:

In College: Co-chair and senior officer, Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) (Seoul, Bangkok, Jakarta); Co-chair, Korean American Students Conference (KASCON IX) at Harvard; Quincy HoCo (House newsletter Coeditor); research intern, Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID); congregation member and high school youth group volunteer leader, the Korean Church of Boston (in Brookline)

Post College: First Generation Harvard Alumni (FGHA) mentor; Office of Career Services winter internship sponsoring cohost for Harvard College undergraduates (Asia and Silicon Valley tech and venture trek); Co-chair, Class of 1997 15th–25th Reunion Committee; Schools & Scholarships Committee coordinating team and interviewer, Harvard Clubs of Silicon Valley and Beijing; member, Harvard Club of San Francisco, Harvard Club of Beijing, and Harvard Club of Hong Kong; Harvard Christian Alumni Society; Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance; vice chair, Associates Giving, Harvard College Fund Executive Committee; Asia Pacific Campaign Committee for the Harvard Campaign; Dean’s Asia Advisory Council; Dean’s Council.

Achievements and Honors:

Albert H. Gordon ’23 Award (2019); Roger Flather ’54 Award (with the fellow co-chairs of the Class of 1997 15th Reunion Committee)

Major Charitable/Other Activities:

Board member, Habitat for Humanity for Greater San Francisco; board member and chair (treasurer), Crystal Springs Uplands School finance committee; inaugural board member, Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco; former vice chair, finance committee, Town of Atherton California; Lay member, Korean Emmanuel Presbyterian Church (San Jose, California)

Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:

Harvard transformed a small-town (Asian) boy from Huntsville, Alabama, who was interested in the classics and anthropology into an acolyte of the power of economic development to transform lives out of poverty in Asia. At Harvard, Professors Amartya Sen and Dwight Perkins became my heroes, gloriously discrediting Malthus. My first trip ever to Asia—Jakarta—started from pulling a little tag from the bottom of a flyer stapled to the board near Emerson saying, “Free Trip to Asia,” and from then on, my windy journey started, leaving me to spend half of my adult life in Korea and China. Close personal connections and serendipity during my time in 02138 continue to evoke feelings of gratitude for the grace with which I was bestowed—and perhaps the most important lessons—“why am I wrong, not why am I right” and to know that ideas are far more powerful and lasting than any fleeting economic wealth, and that we all must lean-in to impact society for betterment. Lastly, one of the most unexpected gifts has been new and deepening friendships forged from each successive Reunion, as our “prime number” Class of 1997 gains much more personal significance than I could have ever imagined beyond blockmates.

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