Harvard School of Public Health celebrates 100 years with leaders and luminaries, story and song

U2 bandmates Bono and Edge sing happy birthday to HSPH on screen amidst confetti and cheers at Boston's Revere Hotel.

Awards ceremony and gala celebration mark School’s milestone

October 29, 2013 — Hundreds gathered to celebrate Harvard School of Public Health’s 100th birthday at an awards ceremony for global health leaders and a festive gala featuring inspiring words, video tributes, the announcement of a major fundraising Campaign, and plenty of good cheer. The October 24, 2013 event drew supporters of the School from near and far.


HSPH’s medal winners, from left: Bill Clinton, Gro Brundtland, Jim Yong Kim, Chelsea Clinton, with Dean Frenk (right).
HSPH’s award winners, from left: President Bill Clinton, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jim Yong Kim, Chelsea Clinton, with Dean Frenk (right).

At an afternoon awards ceremony at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, Centennial Medals were presented to President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, MD ’91, PhD ’93, President, World Bank Group, and co-founder of Partners in Health; and Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, MPH ’65, LLD ’92, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization. The Next Generation Award went to Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.


Bill and Melinda Gates
Via video, Bill and Melinda Gates spoke about the global threat from infectious diseases.

In the evening, at Boston’s Revere Hotel, attendees watched a multimedia presentation outlining the four global health threats that HSPH’s fundraising campaign will address—old and new pandemics, harmful physical and social environments, poverty and humanitarian crises, and failing health systems.

Shaniece Criss
Shaniece Criss

Speakers introducing the themes included Dr. Kim; Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts; Dr. Timothy Johnson, MPH ’76, retired chief medical editor, ABC News; Shaniece Criss, HSPH doctoral student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and, on video, Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine
Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine

Jonathan Lavine, MBA ’92, who with his wife Jeannie, AB ’88, MBA ’92, is chairing the Campaign for Harvard School of Public Health, discussed key ways that HSPH faculty, alumni, and students have helped improve the health of people around the globe and how the Campaign can further that effort. He also announced the Campaign goal: $450 million by 2018. Already, HSPH has raised $167 million during the campaign’s two-year “quiet phase.”

Guests heard from a variety of speakers, watched multimedia presentations, and learned about major global health threats.

Attendees also heard from Harvard University President Drew Faust, who talked about the vital role that public health plays in the world; and from HSPH Dean Julio Frenk, who spoke movingly about the importance of public health both in his own life and globally.

HSPH Dean Julio Frenk
HSPH Dean Julio Frenk

There was a spirited performance from musical group Rhythm of the Universe.

Musical group Rhythm of the Universe gave a spirited performance.
Musical group Rhythm of the Universe

Attendees watched a video montage of HSPH students, staff, and faculty wishing the School a happy birthday in many languages. Then there were more surprises: video birthday wishes from Elton John and Bono—who, with guitarist Edge, sang a happy birthday song specially written for HSPH.


HSPH nutrition expert Lilian Cheung and Donald Hopkins, MPH '70, cheer the finale.
HSPH nutrition expert Lilian Cheung and Donald Hopkins, MPH ’70, cheer the Gala finale.


The celebration continued on October 25 with the Centennial Leadership Summit, a series of talks and discussions with the School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors and Leadership Council. In addition, Dean Frenk spoke on the second century of HSPH; Nancy Lukitsh, MBA ’80, received the Volunteer Leadership Award; and ministerial-level leaders from the U.S. and abroad spoke on a panel about the future of the field of public health.

Party-goers added personal messages to the time capsule.
Party-goers added personal messages to an HSPH time capsule.


Later, the whole School community celebrated in Kresge Cafeteria with cake and champagne, and heard from Dean Frenk about the time capsule that will be placed in the wall of the FXB Building and not opened again until HSPH celebrates its 150th year—in 2063. Centennial partygoers-croppedIts contents include a letter from Frenk to the future Dean of the School; the program book from the Centennial Celebration; and contributions from staff, faculty, and students.HSPH 100 cake-cropped1


— Karen Feldscher

Photos: Kent Dayton, Genevieve De Manio, JD Levine, Tony Rinaldo

Learn about HSPH’s Centennial

Read about the launch of the Campaign for Harvard School of Public Health

Learn more about the campaign

Read news coverage of HSPH’s Centennial Celebration:

Bill and Chelsea Clinton among those honored with awards from Harvard School of Public Health (Washington Post)

President Clinton at Harvard: Public health a model for world problem-solving (Boston Globe)

Bill and Chelsea Clinton receive awards from Harvard (New England Cable News)

Collaboration key in health gains, Clinton says (Harvard Gazette)

Clintons recognized at HSPH Centennial (Harvard Crimson)

100 Years of HSPH (Harvard Magazine)

Global health leaders share insights, hopes for future of public health (HSPH feature)

HSPH community celebrates Centennial (HSPH news)