A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf and Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs Debra Isaacson
Dear Harvard Kennedy School Community,
We are deeply saddened to share the news that Mateo Gomez, a student in our mid-career master in public administration program, has passed away.
Mateo was born in Medellin, Colombia, and moved to Miami, Florida, when he was 10. After graduating from Cornell University, Mateo joined the FBI and served in different capacities. In college and later in New York City, Mateo was an active member of the LGBTQ community. In the CV he submitted as part of his application to the Kennedy School, he wrote that he was a member of the Gay Latino Collective, “a social group building professional connections among gay Latinos in New York City with the mission of growing our networks, celebrating our culture, leveraging our resources, and strengthening our collective power.” He also wrote about his aspiration to join the FBI’s leadership ranks and help to diversify the organization and promote inclusion.
When Mateo arrived here for the MC/MPA Summer Program, he described his interests in wonderfully broad and meaningful terms, citing travel, languages, and international affairs alongside coffee, democracy, social justice, and “inclusion and equality in the new world.” Emma Heffern, the director of the MC/MPA program, had been working with Mateo recently and says that his kindness and warmth came through so clearly. He always asked how she was doing, and after one of their recent meetings, she asked if he hugged and he said, “Yes, I’m definitely a hugger.”
Mateo’s passing is a heartbreaking loss for his family and friends, for everyone at the Kennedy School, and for the many people he had already served in his life or would have served after graduation. We will provide whatever support we can to Mateo’s family during this immensely difficult time. Students seeking support can contact the University’s Counseling and Mental Health Services’ Cares Line at 617-495-2042 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week); staff and faculty seeking support can contact the University’s Employee Assistance Program at 877-327-4278 (also 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
If you will be on campus on Monday, please join us in the Malkin Penthouse at noon to share memories of Mateo and to be in community with each other. In addition, we will arrange a larger gathering when more people are back on campus after the winter break.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mateo’s family and with the many people who cared about him at the Kennedy School and beyond.
Doug and Debbie