Sadé Abraham — senior director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations — is departing Harvard and will become MIT’s inaugural associate dean of advising and student belonging, the College announced last week.
Abraham, whose last day in her role was Wednesday, was named senior director of the Harvard Foundation last summer. She spent six years working in various roles at the College.
Established in 1981, the Harvard Foundation provides funding and programming for students of all racial, ethnic, and cultural identities. The organization is housed in the basement of Grays Hall, a freshman dorm.
The Harvard Foundation has not yet announced a permanent or interim successor to Abraham.
“Knowing that I’ve been able to contribute, even in some small way, to your perspective shifts and your unwavering determination to press on through challenges fills me with immense joy,” Abraham wrote in an emailed statement. “Your resilience and passion have inspired me, and I’m grateful to have played a part in supporting you on your unique paths.”
Associate Dean for Inclusion and Belonging Alta Mauro, who announced Abraham’s departure, described her tenure as “exceptional” and “marked by a steadfast commitment to excellence in fostering inclusion and celebrating diversity”
“Her lived experiences have shaped her unwavering dedication to empowering others and creating a welcoming environment for those on the margins, all of which is evident in her work,” she wrote.
An alumna of the Graduate School of Education, Abraham began working at Harvard in 2017 as the founding and inaugural director of the First Year Retreat Experience, a pre-orientation program for incoming first generation low income freshmen. FYRE aims to orient incoming FGLI students to academic and social life at Harvard by equipping them with the tools to navigate the College’s resources and opportunities.
In the five years leading up to her role as senior director, Abraham served as the Harvard Foundation’s FGLI student advocate and interim assistant director. She also worked as an academic coach for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Academic Resource Center.
Abraham said her role supporting students in their academic journeys has been a “true honor.”
“Reflecting on my journey at Harvard, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride in the founding of FYRE — it truly is one of the distinct honors of my life,” Abraham wrote. “But beyond that, what truly warms my heart is the countless interactions I’ve had with students over the years.”
During her tenure, Abraham oversaw the execution of programs such as the First Gen Day of Celebration — now First-Generation Visibility Week — and the Cultural Rhythms Festival, an annual celebration of Harvard’s ethnic and cultural diversity. She also oversaw the Harvard Foundation’s portraiture project, which aims to diversify the portraits of the University’s influential figures across campus.
At MIT, Abraham will continue her work with diversity and student support by overseeing advising programs for FGLI and other historically marginalized students.
“I am eager to build upon the impactful work I’ve been part of at Harvard,” Abraham wrote. “I know now more than ever the power of a transformative conversation with a student and I’m excited to empower my team at MIT to create similar experiences that inspire students to forge ahead with newfound confidence and perspective.”
Despite saying “goodbye for now,” Abraham wrote that her departure from Harvard is “certainly not a farewell.”
“It has been an immense honor and delight to serve the students of this remarkable community, and I carry each of you with me as I embrace my next adventure,” she added. “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journeys, and I’m excited to see the incredible impact you’ll continue to make in the world.”
—Staff writer Madeleine A. Hung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Joyce E. Kim can be reached at email@example.com.