Harvard U. Overhauls Governing Board in Recession's Wake, a First After 360 Years

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Harvard University has made the first substantial changes in its primary governing board since 1650, when the university was chartered. In a report released on Monday, Harvard said it would nearly double the size of the seven-member Harvard Corporation, and would also create committees and impose term limits on board members.

The corporation's self-imposed modifications follow a bumpy financial ride for the nation's wealthiest university, which saw its endowment value plummet by more than $10-billion during the recession. (The endowment was valued at $27.6-billion in June.) And the university acknowledged that the fiscal crisis was a motivator for the board review.

"The past decade has been a time of unusual challenge, growing complexity, and consequential change both for Harvard and for higher education at large," the report's authors wrote. "It has seemed to us not merely appropriate but necessary to ask what such change implies for a governing body."...

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