The Harvard Class of 2021 now prepares to receive its degrees and set forth into a world so startlingly different from 2017, when they arrived in Cambridge. It might therefore be appropriate to pause and give a salute to its centennial forbear — the extraordinary class of 1921 — and reflect upon some startling similarities, as well as differences, between their times and challenges. Both the 1921 and 2021 classes arrived at Harvard as epic events were unfolding that would forever alter the students’ lives, the University, the nation, and the world.
For this class of ’61 student of history, whose years now almost quadruple the age of the most recent Harvard alums, the call of Harvard Forward is not unprecedented. The goal of achieving a socially-progressive Board of Overseers evokes the long history of courageous Harvard students and graduates of the past who were committed to addressing and solving the urgent issues of their times that threatened the survival and advancement of the highest potential of humankind.