Letter from the Vice Dean: A Season of Gratitude

[Winter 2016]

Dear friends,
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This issue of Harvard Public Health celebrates our alumni and highlights the extraordinary “ripple effect” we see in public health, where every new graduate and every new discovery has the potential to touch the lives of thousands—even millions—of people.

There is a similar multiplier effect for philanthropy at the Harvard Chan School. This was remarkably clear in fiscal year 2015, as we saw transformative gifts of recent years come to fruition in exciting ways, from the launch of new degree programs that are reshaping public health education to the construction of new classroom spaces to the announcement of the first five seed grants made from the McLennan Family Fund’s Dean’s Challenge Grant Program, which went to faculty mem- bers pursuing innovative lines of research in the biology of the Ebola virus, as well as the connections between race, ethnicity, and public health.

We are immeasurably grateful for the generosity that made these and many other programs possible, and for the outpouring of support that made this another record-breaking year in fundraising at the School.

The historic naming gift from the Morningside Foundation of alumnus Gerald Chan and his brother Ronnie Chan was not the only transformative gift we received in FY15. A few of the other game-changing gifts include a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor that will promote advances in research, education, and policy to improve the lives of crisis-affected youth in the Middle East and North Africa; a $2 million bequest from Edward C. Green to support visiting fellows within the Takemi Program in International Health; a $1.25 million gift from Fred Weintz, Jr. to celebrate the memory of his late wife, Betsy Weintz, by providing special recognition to major humanitarian leaders; and a $1 million bequest from alumni Michael and Katharine Morley that established an endowed fellowship fund for international students at the School.

In addition, a longtime friend of the School, Deborah Rose, gave $1 million to honor the leadership of Julio Frenk, who stepped down this past August to become president of the University of Miami. Her gift will ensure that two of Dean Frenk’s flagship initiatives—the doctor of public health and the Ministerial Leadership in Health programs— receive much-needed support as the School embarks on a new era with a new dean.

I was honored to take over as vice dean for external relations this year, and I am delighted to be working with Acting Dean David Hunter, who is himself an alumnus of the School. As we look ahead to the unfinished business of the Campaign for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and recommit to the broad public health imperatives that are the true goals of our Campaign, I thank you for your generosity.

Your vision and your support are helping to create a healthier world and a stronger, more innovative, and more globally connected School.

With my warm regards,

Michael Voligny 
Vice Dean for External Relations