and entering

Dean Khurana: Summer Reflection

Welcome back to fun!

Dear Harvard College students,

I hope that each of you is having a wonderful summer break, whether you are interning, conducting research, studying abroad, or simply spending well-deserved time at home, away from the stresses of academic tasks. You all merit some time to relax and recharge, as iPhones or electric razors do. 

As we return to our dorms and classrooms for the upcoming academic year, we should reflect, like the Cotton-Eye Joe of legend, on where we have come from and where we will go. I am sure you are aware that last year was a time of remarkable accomplishments on campus, from the creation of the College’s first Honor Code and Honor Council to the successful sale of University buildings and professorships to corporate influence-peddlers. 

These achievements are, in a large part, the result of all that we have done as a community.  When I became Dean of the College a year ago, it was my goal to work with you to ensure the College refocused on its important mission of providing a transformative experience—intellectually, socially and physically—for each of you. I wanted to see short people grow taller. I wanted to see tall people grow shorter. I wanted to see vegetarians eat meat, and I wanted to see a couple of students to magically turn into inanimate objects.

I am proud to say that we’ve accomplished some of these goals, but there is still more to be done. Based on conversations that I held with six-foot-tall mirror in my office this year, I’d like to highlight a couple of areas that I’m particularly excited about. 

First, I am excited to continue expanding and strengthening our undergraduate educational experience. The groundbreaking launch of our Theater, Dance, and Media concentration this fall is expected to affect as many as seven extroverted undergrads. In addition, the General Education review committee is working hard to plan a series of courses that allow students of all academic backgrounds to take a well-deserved nap in the middle of the day.

Second, we are increasing the resources available for House-based social life. Of note is the College’s new campaign to donate a large gift basket to each House, including several paint-by-numbers kits, knitting needles, and a $50 gift certificate to T.G.I. Friday’s. Undergraduates will now be able to learn from each other while making artisanal scarves or enjoying one of Friday’s Endless Appetizers, such as French onion dumplings or spicy chicken tostadas. I would like to thank the Buffett family for their generous donation for this program.

In these last few weeks before we reconvene, let’s all take some time to reflect. Look in your own mirrors, and think about what you want your next semester to be like. I hope that when you look in the mirror, you see me.


Rakesh Khurana

Danoff Dean of Harvard College

Image credit: Rose Lincoln/ 

© 2015