Dear Harvard College Students,
I am writing to say hello and introduce myself as your new Dean of Students. During my first few weeks on campus, I have been struck by the profound sense of community here at Harvard College – among the College staff, faculty, and of course students. While the Boston area has played host to the entirety of my higher education career, I’m looking at my role at Harvard College and my work with you through a new perspective. I have brought with me to Harvard a singular focus on how I – joined by my colleagues in the Office of Student Life – can enhance and support your lives outside of the classroom, including opportunities for intellectual, personal, and social transformation – all of which are central to the College’s mission.
As many of you know, the Office of Student Life includes the offices of equity, diversity and inclusion, residential life and housing, and student involvement. I see myself as a steward of your experience, and my short term goal is to meet as many students as I can and hear your stories – what you like about your experience, what you would like to change, and how we in the Office can support you in your efforts to make Harvard the community you all want it to be.
Harvard College has a reputation of excellence – and incredible spirit. I attended the Student Activities Fair in the Quad and met many of you who are involved in organizations that illustrate the rich diversity of interests and perspectives that make this a great community. I also had the privilege of attending the Day of Service with 20 first year students and a senior mentor. All of these students saw firsthand the important relationship we have with our Boston and Cambridge neighbors and took to heart our responsibility to establish deep and lasting connections.
I hold office hours in the Lamont Café each Friday afternoon from 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. I also plan to come to you, whether that be dropping into a dining hall for lunch or dinner or attending a campus program or sporting event. You may also see me early in the morning running the stadium steps, and I welcome your company for that as well.
Please feel free to attend my office hours or reach out to me via email to introduce yourself, share your ideas for how the OSL can best meet student needs, or discuss your experience here at Harvard. I have set up an email address specifically for you to reach me – so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it is a lofty goal, I hope to meet each of you in the coming year. On behalf of my colleagues in OSL, good luck in the fall semester!
Katherine G. O’Dair
Dean of Students