The Harvard Medalists of 2016
The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has announced this year’s recipients of the Harvard Medal, which has been awarded since 1981 for extraordinary service to the University. They are:
- Thomas G. Everett, director emeritus of the Harvard Bands. Widely considered the father of the University’s jazz program, he found the campus to be (in the words of The Harvard Crimson) “a jazz wasteland” when he arrived in 1971. The small band he founded eventually expanded into the Sunday and Monday ensembles now known collectively as the Harvard Jazz Bands. Over the years, Everett developed a number of courses about jazz and its history, first at the Extension School and then within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; he also brought in artists for master classes and residencies. Meanwhile, he directed the Harvard University Bands for decades—and in that capacity, oversaw football game halftime shows, the Harvard Wind Ensemble, and the Harvard Summer Pops Band; he retired in 2013. Everett has also been a supporter of the Harvard Alumni Jazz Band and the Harvard Band Foundation, and has given personal lessons to alumni.
- Roger W. Ferguson Jr. ’73, A.M. ’78, J.D. ’79, Ph.D. ’81. President and CEO of the financial services provider commonly known as TIAA-CREF, Ferguson is a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. “I was the only governor in Washington on 9/11,” he told Bloomberg. “So I led the response: keeping the Fed open, providing ample liquidity to backstop the banks, and sending extraordinary amounts of cash to avoid having ATMs run out of money.”
Serving as president of the Board of Overseers from 2008 to 2009, he also contributed to a number of committees at the University: he chaired the standing committee on institutional policy and Harvard’s audit committee, and was also a member of the executive committee and the board’s standing committees on social sciences and alumni affairs and development.
- John H. McArthur, M.B.A. ’59, D.B.A. ’63, dean emeritus of Harvard Business School. McArthur joined the HBS faculty in 1962, teaching courses in corporate finance; he became dean in 1980. During his 15-year tenure, he introduced new fields of study and overhauled the school’s M.B.A. program and publishing arm. He also made changes to its physical plant, helping to design the school’s distinctive chapel. Reporting in 1995 on how McArthur brokered the merger between the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital—creating Partners HealthCare System, now the state’s largest private employer and the provider network where the University spends most of its health-benefits money—the Crimson wondered, “Is John H. McArthur the Most Powerful Man at Harvard?” A University professorship was named for him and his wife, Natty, in 1997; McArthur Hall was dedicated at HBS in 1999.
McArthur has also served elsewhere at Harvard: at the College, as honorary coach of the men’s ice hockey team; at the medical school, as a member of the Board of Overseers; and at the schools of education and public health, as a member of their Dean’s Councils. He is the honorary chair of the current HBS capital campaign.
- Betsey Bradley Urschel, Ed.M. ’63, for her volunteer service locally and with various advisory boards and committees, including that of the HAA. A past president and director emerita of the Harvard Club of Dallas, Urschel co-chaired the club’s centennial events in 2014 and, with her late husband, Harold, started the community service fund that bears their name and provides financial assistance to a College undergraduate working in a public-service internship in north Texas.
The honorees will be presented with their medals during the HAA’s annual meeting on the afternoon of Commencement day.