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Bacow Discusses University-City Partnerships in Phoenix

Bacow at Inauguration
University President Lawrence S. Bacow speaks at his inauguration in October 2018.

University President Lawrence S. Bacow traveled to Phoenix, Ariz. last Wednesday, meeting with Phoenix Mayor Katharine W. Gallego ’04 and other city officials to discuss the importance of partnerships between universities and cities.

The trip is the latest in a series of stops Bacow has made across the country. In his first year as University president, Bacow has visited his hometown of Pontiac, Mich., San Diego, Calif., and Miami, Fla. to meet with alumni and discuss how Harvard can benefit those outside Cambridge, Mass.

Bacow said in a statement that he enjoyed learning about the city of Phoenix and is proud of Gallego’s work as mayor.

“My recent visit to Arizona was especially wonderful because I was able to learn about the good work being done in Phoenix by Mayor Gallego and her team,” Bacow said. “Harvard alumni like Kate are making major contributions to the public good, and I am always interested to hear how the University might enhance or establish partnerships that put more of the knowledge we generate on campus to use in communities across the country.”

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Bacow was also slated to speak at a primary and secondary school in Houston, Texas on Friday, but the event was cancelled due to flooding in the area.

In Phoenix, Bacow met with Gallego as well as city manager Ed Zuercher and deputy city manager Karen L. Peters at Phoenix City Hall. Bacow is the first Harvard president to visit the city for at least decade, Gallego said in an interview Monday.

Harvard began their relationship with Phoenix in 2017 when former mayor and current U.S. representative Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) and Peters were part of the inaugural class of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to “inspire and strengthen city leaders.”

Bacow, Gallego, and the city officials also discussed the “HeatReady Collaboration” — an ongoing effort between Harvard, Arizona State University, the city of Phoenix, and others to examine heat mitigation in the city. The initiative is being driven by a $100,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the participants are hoping to develop an urban heat plan and heat-ready certification model among other measures.

Gallego said Bacow also spoke about the College’s new summer public service stipend for incoming freshmen in the Class of 2023. Participants in the program will receive a $1,500 stipend to pursue 100 hours of community service in their hometowns, both in the United States and abroad.

Gallego praised the program Monday for providing students with the opportunity to serve their own cities and towns.

“I think there's been a concentration of alumni in a couple cities mostly on the coast, and I see great value in people serving throughout more diverse locations as well as having financial support to do public service,” Gallego said.

Gallego stressed the value of universities like Harvard engaging with cities in the growing southern and western parts of the country.

“I represent more people than the entire state of New Hampshire, and I feel like so much of the future of the country is outside of the Boston area,” Gallego said. “If you're going to be doing important scholarship on cities, Phoenix should be at the table. I think it'll improve both the accuracy of the research and the efficacy if you're in more of the country.”

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

—Staff writer Aidan F. Ryan can be reached at aidan.ryan@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @AidanRyanNH.

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