Messages for our future generation

Student adds a contribution to the time capsule

What do you want the HSPH community of the next generation to know? When you graduate, retire, or otherwise move on, what do you want to leave behind at the School?

Many members of the community reflected on these questions at the culmination of our Centennial Celebration on October 25, 2013, filling a time capsule to be destined to lie inside of a wall of the FXB building for 50 years. From records of scientific achievement to memorable knickknacks to personal expressions of gratitude, the faculty, students, alumni, and staff included their own remembrances of our present and our hundred-year history.

open time capsuleThe two days of the Centennial Celebration are memorialized in the invitation and program, along with several commemorative items. Each department was asked to contribute something to the time capsule, and the contents are characteristically varied, from academic policies contributed by Health Policy and Management to seminal research papers out of the venerable Nutrition department. Environmental Health reflected on the enduring nature of a public health problem with its contribution of two doctoral dissertations, dated 90 years apart (1923 and 2013), with a shared topic of lead poisoning. Global Health and Population included a memento of their celebration of history with a booklet from their 50th anniversary symposium, which took place in the spring of 2013.

There are also documents that paint a picture of how the School operates today: a financial overview from Financial Services, a curriculum guide from the Office for Education, a Campaign case statement from External Relations. Dean Frenk included a copy of the Lancet report on “Health Professionals for a New Century,” and addressed a letter to the School’s dean in 2063. Student Government president German Orrego wrote a letter to his own successor as well. Students added dozens of handwritten notes on paper, business cards, even currency and paper plates. Alumni made a contribution by inscribing messages on posters when they gathered for Alumni Weekend. The Centennial Celebration itself is commemorated with the inclusion of the knives that cut the School’s birthday cake. And a lucky HSPHer in 2063 will have a chance to wear one of the coveted Centennial hats!

Join the HSPH community (details below) for a special ceremony as we gather in FXB to take one last look at the time capsule before it is “laid to rest” for 50 years. And just maybe…some of us will return when it is unearthed in 2063?

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Join Dean Julio Frenk for the placement of the HSPH Time Capsule in honor of our School’s Centennial. All members of the HSPH community are welcome to attend.

A reply is not necessary, but appreciated, to best plan for the event. Reply here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
5:30 – 6:30 PM
FXB Lobby & Atrium
651 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Program with reception to follow


Julio Frenk
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard School of Public Health
T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School

Christina Roberto
Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Nutrition

Rebecca Hope, MPH ’14

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