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Douglas W. Elmendorf Appointed Harvard Kennedy School Dean

6.11.15

Douglas W. Elmendorf

Douglas W. Elmendorf

Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Ph.D. ’89, who concluded his service as director of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO—read his vita here) in March, has been named dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, effective in January. The time between the departure of dean David T.  Ellwood, effective at the end of this month, and Elmendorf’s availability to assume his new responsibilities on campus, apparently accounts for the Commencement-week announcement that Archon Fung would serve as acting dean effective July 1.

Elmendorf, a macroeconomist (his dissertation committee included a powerful macroeconomic trio: Martin Feldstein, Greg Mankiw, and Lawrence H. Summers), was an assistant professor at Harvard from 1989 to 1994. He joined the CBO staff in 1993, and subsequently served in staff economist roles at the Federal Reserve Board, Council of Economic Advisors, and U.S. Treasury Department. (For a flavor of his research during this period, see this Kennedy School working paper.) He returned to the Fed from 2001 to 2007 before serving as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and then assuming his leadership of the CBO in 2009.

Bloomberg reported that Elmendorf’s reappointment to a new term at the CBO was blocked when the new Republican leadership assumed control of both houses of Congress.

In the University announcement, President Drew Faust said:

Doug Elmendorf is an outstanding public servant, an admired mentor and teacher, and a distinguished economist deeply immersed in the interplay of research and policy—an experienced leader in government who embodies the Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to joining scholarship, education, and practice to serve the public good. As director of the CBO, he won widespread praise for his leadership and management skills, his integrity and fairness, his intellectual curiosity and analytical acuity, and his ability to work thoughtfully and constructively with people across the political spectrum. 

His incisive mind, his openness to different perspectives, his instinct for collaboration, and his engaging and collegial style have propelled his success in a series of roles. I am confident he will guide the Kennedy School with foresight and energy, a deep appreciation for the full breadth of the School’s diverse pursuits, and a constant dedication to its high ideals.

Elmendorf said:

I am honored to have been chosen…to serve as dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. During my public service, I have seen firsthand the essential role of innovative policy ideas and outstanding people to put those ideas into practice, and the Harvard Kennedy School is the preeminent provider of both to governments in this country and around the world. I am eagerly looking forward to working with the school's extraordinary faculty, staff, students, and alumni to build on all that has been achieved under the strong leadership of David Ellwood and his predecessors as dean. Together, we will honor and extend the school's commitment to confronting hard problems in ways that enhance public policy and improve people's lives.

Read the announcement here.

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