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Charlie Haight joined HKS at the end of the summer as the new senior associate dean for alumni relations and resource development. We recently sat down with Charlie to learn about his vision for helping the School achieve its mission.
Why did you decide to come to HKS?
I had been at Mount Holyoke College for 16 wonderful years, and when I was approached to consider this position at the Kennedy School, I thought I would see what it was all about, because it’s very different from being a vice president at a small liberal arts college. The more I learned about the Kennedy School, the more interested and intrigued I became. The public service mission of the place is extraordinary, and is also consistent with values I’ve always had—that sound policy and positive action can make life better for the country and the world. There’s a complexity here—both at HKS and at Harvard as a whole, and that too was attractive to me.
What do you hope to achieve at HKS?
Of course the most literal way of looking at achievement is to reach our fundraising goals. We also have a very good opportunity to create an alumni relations and engagement program that is sustainable and long-lasting. In whatever job I’ve held, I’ve heard the statement from alumni that “the only time we ever hear from you is when you ask us for money.” While it’s true that alums do hear from institutions asking for money, alumni can give back to the school in so many ways. Our HKS alumni, for example, have extraordinary networks and experience that can help students. We look forward to working with alumni to create experiential learning opportunities and to help with mentoring and job placement for current students. We want to build a program that will connect alums to each other and to the School. And yes, we hope that in addition to these activities, people will feel that a gift to HKS is a worthwhile contribution.
Many alumni know that Paige Ennis MC/MPA 2010 recently left her HKS job as senior director of alumni relations for a position in Washington, DC. What are the plans for replacing her?
The position has been posted and the HKS Office of Human Resources is advertising and recruiting for it. We are excited that this seems like an attractive position to good candidates, and we certainly look forward to hearing from alums who are interested or know someone who might be interested.
If you had the opportunity to tell HKS alumni just one thing, what would it be?
I don’t have to tell our alums this, but HKS is an incredible place. There is so much energy and idealism among our students and faculty, as well as our alums. I hope that HKS alumni pay close attention to what we’re doing at the Kennedy School and stay current with the work that faculty and students are doing via our various communications vehicles because it is so exciting. We also love hearing your feedback, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. I am going to be out and about visiting various parts of the country and, in fact, the world, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can.
Charlie Haight, senior associate dean for Alumni Relations and Resource Development.
"The public service mission of the place is extraordinary, and is also consistent with values I’ve always had—that sound policy and positive action can make life better for the country and the world," said Haight.