Harvard’s Postponed Board of Overseers Election Will Begin July 1, Conclude August 18


Harvard’s annual Board of Overseers and Harvard Alumni Association director elections will begin on July 1, according to University spokesperson Christopher M. Hennessy.

The Board of Overseers — the University’s second-highest governing body — advises Harvard administrators and approves certain actions taken by the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body. Members serve six-year terms.

The University previously announced the 2020 Harvard elections would be postponed until early to mid-July due to the “uncertainty” posed by the global pandemic. The election was originally scheduled to be held from April 1 to May 19.

Harvard Forward, a coalition of students and alumni pushing for the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry, supported five candidates for the board: John E. Beatty ’11, Lisa Bi Huang, Margaret “Midge” Purce ’17, Dorothy “Thea” Sebastian ’08, and Jayson U. Toweh.


Each of the five candidates received over 4,500 signatures. Candidates must gain roughly 3,000 alumni signatures to join the ballot.

The Harvard Alumni Association supported a different slate of candidates for the Board of Overseers ballot: Raphael W. Bostic ’87, Katherine Collins, David H. Eun ’89, Diego A. Rodriguez, Tracy K. Smith ’94, Miki Uchida Tsusaka ’84, and Ryan M. Wise.

In March, Harvard Forward announced that it would hold an entirely online campaign as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harvard Forward also announced its support for six candidates contending to become Harvard Alumni Association Elected Directors: Santiago Creuheras, Kelsey T. Leonard ’10, Michael D. Lewis ’93, Benjamin D. Wei ’08, Joyce Y. Zhang ’09, and Vanessa M. Zoltan. These candidates support “Harvard Forward’s platform of climate action, socially responsible investment, and inclusive governance,” according to a press release from the group.

All Harvard degree holders — except those in University instruction and governance positions and members of the Harvard Corporation — are eligible to vote in the elections by traditional paper ballot or online.

—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

—Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.