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Reardon to Retire

March-April 2014

John P. “Jack” Reardon

John P. “Jack” Reardon

Photograph by Jon Chase/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

John P. “Jack” Reardon ’60, executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA)—known for diplomacy, warmth, humor, and dedication throughout his long University career—will step down at the end of June. Hired in 1965 by another renowned Harvard veteran administrator, Fred L. Glimp ’50, Ph.D. ’64, Reardon had earned an M.B.A. at Penn and was working at the Boston Redevelopment Authority when, he reports, “Fred offered me [a College admissions] job for $9,000. And I have not been unhappy at Harvard for a minute since.” In return, he has been respected and even beloved by undergraduates, alumni, and administrators across four presidencies.

Reardon rose to become associate dean of admissions and financial aid before moving across the river in 1978 to become Harvard’s athletics director. The wholesale turnaround he managed included expanding the women’s programs; his tenure also saw the men’s heavyweight crew win the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley in 1985 and the men’s ice-hockey team beat Minnesota for the national championship in 1989. His skills in building relationships with alumni and other supporters were readily apparent, and in 1990, Glimp and President Derek Bok persuaded him to become executive director of the HAA.

“Alumni are so different from one another, and have different ideas, and it seems to me my job has been to figure out how to bring all of them together, and closer to the University,” says Reardon. “That’s been interesting work—and not that easy! But I’ve always just loved this place. And there is a lot of stuff going well and good people in place. I’m 75 years old and there comes a point where I’d rather be doing things on my own terms.” He plans to continue applying his institutional memory and people skills on Harvard’s behalf—working on fundraising, Ivy League athletic matters, with the Board of Overseers, and projects tied to alumni relations. And he remains a Harvard Magazine Inc. board member.

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