A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf
To the Members of the Harvard Kennedy School Community,
Some of you may know that Philip Heymann passed away last week. Phil, as he was known, had been a distinguished professor at Harvard Law School and an expert on criminal justice, terrorism, and civil liberties. He served in senior positions at the State and Justice Departments during the Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton administrations. His lengthy obituaries in The New York Times and The Washington Post chart his remarkable career.
I share this news with our community because Phil had been a member of our faculty as well, and indeed had a close connection to the Kennedy School dating back to the 1960s. He played a crucial role in the initial development of the MPP program, in building the joint MPP/JD program with the law school, and in the early years of our executive education teaching. Phil was part of the Kennedy School’s initiatives in South Africa in the period after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. He later helped to create a Belfer Center program on preparedness for terrorism and cowrote a book on the topic with our faculty member Juliette Kayyem.
Phil generated strong feelings of admiration and fondness from his Kennedy School colleagues. Roger Porter describes him as “genuinely remarkable in the breadth of his interests, the depth of his analysis and understanding, and the strength of his commitment to public service in the finest sense of that term.” Mark Moore calls him “a wonderful mentor.” And Dutch Leonard characterizes Phil as “intellectually firm and, while gentle in his exposition, solid as a rock. A great model of intelligent discourse about the issues of our day.”
Philip Heymann will be remembered as an extraordinary person, scholar, teacher, public leader, and public servant. He is a model for our highest aspirations at the Kennedy School.