The alumni-led Harvard Alumni Association Board Committee to Nominate Overseers and Elected Directors (Nominating Committee) is responsible for developing and presenting nominees both for the Harvard Board of Overseers and for Elected Directors of the HAA. The Nominating Committee’s voting members include ten alumni of varied backgrounds and experience elected by the HAA Executive Committee and three current or recent members of the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Committee to Nominate Overseers and Elected Directors
- John Bowman A.B. '80, M.B.A '85 (Chair)
- Geraldine Acuña-Sunshine A.B. '92, M.P.P. '96
- David Battat A.B. '91
- Chris Cleveland A.B. '14, Ed.M. '19, Ph.D. '23
- Roger A. Fairfax Jr. A.B. ’94, J.D. ’98
- Martha Genieser A.B. '91
- William R. Horton Jr. A.B. ’77
- June Nagao A.B. '96
- Julie Gage Palmer A.B. ’84
- Bryan Barnhill A.B. '06
- Sid Espinosa M.P.P. '00
- Helena Foulkes A.B. '86, M.B.A.'92
- Tracy P. Palandjian A.B. ’93, M.B.A. ’97
- Seth C. Farber A.B. ’86, J.D. ’89
- Marc Goodheart A.B. ’81, J.D. ’85 (non-voting)
- Brian K. Lee (non-voting)
The HAA Nominating Committee deliberates over the course of the fall to develop the slates of candidates. Committee members discuss a wide range of nominees with the goal of putting forward candidates who will bring important and complementary perspectives and experiences to Harvard’s Board of Overseers and the HAA Board. In fall 2019, the committee reviewed approximately 300 individuals for possible inclusion on the Overseers ballot and approximately 200 for possible inclusion on the HAA Elected Director ballot.
In seeking to develop a diverse slate of Overseer candidates, while taking account of the Board’s present composition and the University’s future needs, the committee considers such attributes as these:
experience and accomplishment in an academic or professional domain important to the University;
a broad interest in and concern for higher education;
a broad concern for interests of Harvard as a whole, and for the overall quality and continual improvement of its programs of education and research;
a commitment to investing the time and energy necessary for effective service
an understanding of complex organizations; and
leadership and consensus-building skills.
From its deliberations, the Nominating Committee typically presents eight candidates for five anticipated vacancies on the Board of Overseers and nine candidates for the six available positions as HAA Elected Director. (The committee is responsible for nominating one and one-half times the number of vacancies which, at the time of nomination, it is anticipated will be required to be filled.)
Candidates for Overseer may also be nominated by petition, by obtaining a prescribed number of signatures from eligible voters (in the amount of at least one percent of the number of eligible voters in the prior year’s election) by a specified date. Individuals who wish to qualify by petition for the 2021 Overseers election are expected to notify the Office of the Governing Boards of their intention before nominations by petition are submitted on their behalf.
The petition process for the 2021 election is now closed.
Eligible voters in the 2021 Overseers election include all Harvard degree holders whose degrees were received by January 1, 2021, except for members of the Harvard Corporation and officers of government or instruction in the University. Eligible voters in the 2021 HAA Elected Directors election include all Harvard degree holders whose degrees were received by January 1, 2021.
Should additional vacancies on the Board of Overseers (beyond the usual five) occur before Commencement Day, these are to be filled by the candidate(s) receiving the successive number of highest votes: the candidate who receives the sixth highest number will fill the first open vacancy, the seventh candidate the next open vacancy, and so on.