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By Extension, a better Harvard

January 2024

I hope you are as excited as I am to see the #HESproud campaign in social media. This campaign is more than a celebration; it’s a reaffirmation of our collective achievements and the unique challenges we’ve overcome. Many of you have balanced demanding jobs, family responsibilities, and the rigorous academic requirements of one of the world’s most prestigious institutions. Your journeys are a testament to the tenacity and dedication inherent in every Harvard Extension School student and alumnus.

This journey is shared by more than 40,000 alumni across more than 100 countries.  A community as diverse as the selection of classes you can take in our school.  As one of the most varied alumni groups within Harvard, we bring an array of perspectives and experiences that enrich not only our own community but the entire university.

The accessible and inclusive educational model at Harvard Extension School doesn’t just benefit us as individuals; it empowers and revitalizes our local and global communities. As we broaden our educational horizons and unlock new opportunities, we exemplify a profound truth: the achievements and progress of each Harvard Extension School alumnus inherently fosters, by extension, a stronger and more inclusive Harvard University.

In recent weeks, our institution has navigated through challenging waters. The complexities of recent events, coupled with unfortunate remarks about our school, have undoubtedly stirred emotions and sparked debates.  While these incidents have tested our resolve, they have also highlighted the unwavering spirit and unity of our students and alumni.

It is undeniable that along our journey, we have encountered skeptics and naysayers. Some may question our place at the proverbial table or underestimate the rigor and value of our academic pursuits. In response, we consistently show that our role extends far beyond mere worthiness; we are indispensable contributors to this esteemed academic community. Our accredited degrees are not just symbols of personal achievement, but also emblems of our unwavering commitment and dedication.

In my conversations with many of you, a resounding message has emerged: the fundamental importance of our three pillars—connecting, serving, and celebrating—remains undiminished. It is the richness of our diverse thoughts and actions that fortifies our community, making it more vibrant and resilient. And the relationships we build with one another is our strength.

As we continue to grow together as a university, let us remember that our unity and collective efforts are key to building a brighter future. The Harvard Extension Alumni Association, along with the faculty, and the comprehensive Harvard leadership, is deeply committed to nurturing and supporting each one of you.  Together we possess the extraordinary capability to cultivate a community that’s not only harmonious and influential but one whose positive impact resonates well beyond the physical and intellectual boundaries of our school.

I encourage you to join the #HESproud campaign, sharing the rich tapestry of your personal stories and notable achievements. Let the world see the remarkable depth and dynamism of the Harvard Extension School community. Together, we embody not just the transformative power of education, but also the enduring spirit of a university that continues to evolve and improve through our contributions.  So let us march forward with empathy, resilience, and hope. Let us celebrate one another and the paths we’ve taken to get here. And let us continue working to build a more welcoming, compassionate, and inclusive Harvard Extension School, and by extension, a better Harvard.

With great pride,

Ariel Gamiño ALM ‘03
President, Harvard Extension Alumni Association