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Radio Amateur Named as Next President of Harvard University


Lawrence S. Bacow, KA1FZQ, of Brookline, Massachusetts, has been selected to become the 29th president of Harvard University, the home of W1AF. Selected from among a field of some 700 candidates, Bacow will take office on July 1, succeeding Drew Faust.

“Larry Bacow is one of the most accomplished, admired, insightful, and effective leaders in American higher education,” said William F. Lee, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in making the announcement over the weekend. “This is a pivotal moment for higher education — a time full of extraordinary possibilities to pursue new knowledge, enhance education, and serve society, but also a time when the singular value of higher education and university research has too often been challenged and called into doubt. Such a time calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking, and disciplined execution. Larry will provide just that.”

The son of immigrants and holding three degrees from Harvard, including a PhD in public policy, Bacow was a long-time faculty leader at MIT, his undergraduate alma mater, where he rose to the position of chancellor. He also served for a decade as the President of Tufts University. Currently he is the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

In a Temple Emmanuel From the Gates newsletter commentary last November, Bacow confessed to being an “uber nerd” while he was growing up in Pontiac, Michigan. “I was a ham radio operator. I used to get my kicks building radios out of Heathkits — some of you are old enough to remember them.” Bacow said his reading outside of school was “confined to Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and some obscure magazines known only to fellow ham radio operators called QST and 73.

ARRL Roanoke Division Vice Director Bill Morine, N2COP, said he once worked Bacow on 2 meters when the academician was sailing off the coast of Maine many years ago, after Bacow had been named the president of Tufts University, Morine’s alma mater. Larry’s a great guy and is supportive of ham radio,” Morine told ARRL. 

Bacow’s father Mitchell also was a radio amateur — W8JYZ and N4MB. He died in 2007. — Thanks to Harvard University and to Bill Morine, N2COP