Jay Herlihy Appointed Dean of Finance for FAS

Jay Herlihy will be the new Dean of Finance for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as of Sept. 26, according to an email sent to members of FAS Friday morning.

His appointment fills a nearly four-month long void in the school's administrative ranks created by the departure of former FAS Associate Dean for Finance Eric Kopstain for a position at Vanderbilt University this May.

Harvard undertook a national search to find Kopstain’s replacement, but ultimately chose a candidate from within the University. Herlihy has served as the Associate Dean for Finance at the Graduate School of Education since 2009, after first joining Harvard as a GSE administrator in 2005.

"[Herlihy's] deep understanding of Harvard’s culture and experience with Harvard’s capital planning process give him the experience necessary to manage FAS finances across all our divisions, departments, centers and offices," wrote Dean for Administration and Finance Leslie A. Kirwan ’79, who sent out the announcement Friday morning to faculty, administrators, and staff in FAS. "In addition to working to manage the day-to-day finances of the GSE, Jay played a key role in assisting the school’s master- and strategic-planning operations.”

In the last six years the GSE doubled its financial budget to support new degree programs financial aid, and growing research programs, according to Kirwan.


GSE Financial Operations Manager Evelyn Wong, who worked with Herlihy closely while he was director of financial planning and administration at GSE from 2006 to 2008, said he will be sorely missed in the finance office at the GSE.

She cited his ability to carry the GSE through the financial crisis and the central role Herlihy played in piloting the Harvard University Budgeting System—a complete overhaul of the budgeting process—as two of his most important contributions.

“I have certainly learned a great deal from him,” she said. “He’s going to be someone that will work collectively and openly with his new unit in FAS—he’s going to be a tremendous asset.”

Herlihy, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Tufts University, and both a Master's in accounting and MBA from Northwestern, has worked in both higher education and industry prior to coming to Harvard. Starting in 1996, he took charge of a $250 million capital plan at Tufts University and in 2000, he was picked to be Director of Administration and Finance of the Fletcher School at Tufts.

—Staff writer Radhika Jain can be reached at

—Staff writer Kevin J. Wu can be reached at