Vivian Hunt ’89 To Lead Harvard Board of Overseers During Presidential Search


Updated April 15, 2024, at 8:09 p.m.

Vivian Y. Hunt ’89 will serve as the next president of the Board of Overseers, the University’s second highest governing body, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Her election comes after the Overseers and the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — met on campus for their regularly scheduled meeting in April.

Hunt did not respond to a request for comment. In response to a request for comment, the University confirmed Hunt’s appointment in a press release Monday evening.


Hunt will lead the Overseers for the 2024-2025 academic year. Historically, three Overseers serve on the University’s presidential search committee with all 12 fellows of the Corporation. In the last five searches, the president of the Overseers has been one of them.

While Hunt’s appointment brings Harvard even closer to announcing the committee charged with appointing a permanent successor to former President Claudine Gay, the University has not indicated that it is in any rush to announce the search committee.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra said in an interview with The Crimson last week that the presidential search was not even discussed at the most recent Overseers meeting.

Hunt will take on the role in a year where the position could be uniquely consequential. The board has faced heightened scrutiny over its election process in recent months after a slate of outsider candidates all failed to meet the threshold for ballot eligibility, and is likely to remain in the spotlight amid Harvard’s leadership crisis.

Tyler Jacks ’83, a cancer researcher and MIT professor, will serve as board vice chair. He served on the presidential search committee that selected Gay as the University’s 30th president in December 2022.

Hunt said in a press release that she understands the “challenges and opportunities facing the University.”

“Tyler Jacks and I hope to work closely with Interim President Garber and all of our stakeholders to support excellence, inclusion, and world-class leadership in all that we do,” she added.

As the chief innovation officer at UnitedHealth Group, Hunt has served on the board since 2019. She previously worked as senior partner at McKinsey & Co., overseeing the firm’s operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 2018, she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for contributions to the economy and women in business.

The Overseers select a new president every spring, and Hunt will replace current president Meredith L. “Max” Hodges ’03, whose term will finish at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Jacks has also served on the Board of Overseers since 2019. He previously worked as the director of the MIT Center for Cancer Research for 20 years and as the president of the American Association for Cancer Research. He will succeed Geraldine Acuña-Sunshine ’92 who served as vice chair for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The board is also awaiting the results of its annual election, as Harvard alumni have until May 14 to cast their ballots on which candidates will take the board’s five open seats. Members of the board typically serve six-year terms.

Last month, Hunt fielded questions from alumni and donors with Garber during his spring break visit to the Harvard Club of the United Kingdom. During multiple meetings during the trip, Garber expressed serious concern about University fundraising, telling alumni that donations had fallen substantially since Oct. 7.

Hunt graduated from Harvard College, where she concentrated in Sociology and lived in Kirkland House. She also has a degree from Harvard Business School and currently lives in London.

Garber said in a press release that “Vivian Hunt and Tyler Jacks are both exceptionally accomplished alumni and leaders.”

“Their complementary talents and experiences are sure to serve the University well in the year ahead,” he added.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.