and entering

Thanks and gratitude

This Thanksgiving, I hope you and your family are thinking about just how difficult my job is.

Dear Harvard College Students,

While this year’s Harvard-Yale Game, presidential election, World Series (Go Tribe!), and countless other things of varying levels of importance didn’t go our way, I hope that each of you enjoyed the festivities and camaraderie of last weekend as much as I did. And let me tell you, Tommy D isn’t the only dean who knows how to party. Cabot tailgate was pretty fucking lit.

As the weather turns colder, and we head into the final weeks of the semester, I am reminded how grateful I am to be part of this community. Also, I am reminded how grateful I am not to be outcast from this community and/or physically assaulted after I imposed sanctions on single-gender social organizations. If someone had told me how much you guys liked your little garden parties, I would have backed off. Jeez.

Anyway, I am looking forward to using this Thanksgiving recess to reflect on the wonderful people at the College—students, faculty, and staff—and to think about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for us as a campus and as a nation. In fact, I plan to spend so much time reflecting on this, that my wife Stephanie will ask me why I haven’t been helping in the kitchen. I will tell her that I am reflecting on the wonderful people at the College and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for us as a campus and as a nation, and she will tell me to “mash the goddamn potatoes, Rakesh, before I mash you.” I will certainly continue reflecting as I mash those potatoes—this time on my competing responsibilities, as well. I can’t do it all, okay? I’m trying my best to be a good father, a good husband, and a good Danoff Dean of Harvard College, and everyone has to be understanding of that. Reflection is my way of dealing with stress, so please at least give me that, Stephanie. I promise to be present during Thanksgiving dinner if you just leave me to my thoughts while I’m mashing the goddamn potatoes!

I look forward to working with all of you in the coming months to think of new ways we can come together to best embody and uphold the values of our community. In the meantime, please stop getting mumps and being really sexist. Whether you are traveling a great distance or remaining on campus for the holiday weekend because you can’t afford to go home or your parents don’t think it’s worth the money, I want to wish you a safe and joyful respite and reassure you that we don't give a shit where you spend Thanksgiving.

Somewhat warmly,

Dean Khurana

© 2016