Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby has been elected president of the Harvard University Board of Overseers, the larger of the university's two governing bodies, for 2013-14. Harvard made the announcement today, and his term will begin following Harvard's commencement.
Oxtoby earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard in chemistry and physics, summa cum laude, in 1972. Elected to Harvard's Board of Overseers in 2008, he is currently entering the final year of his six-year term. Oxtoby chairs the board's institutional policy committee and serves on the executive committee and the committee on natural and applied sciences. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on Inspection, Harvard's audit committee and chairs the Committee to Visit Harvard College.
Harvard's announcement of Oxtoby's new leadership position was combined with an announcement that noted concert violinist Lynn Chang will become the new vice chair of the board's executive committee. "David Oxtoby and Lynn Chang are two distinguished educators who bring invaluable and complementary perspectives to the work of the Overseers," said Harvard President Drew Faust. "We will be fortunate to have them leading the board next year and to continue benefiting from their insight and guidance."
Members of the Board of Overseers are elected annually by holders of Harvard degrees. The board exerts broad influence over Harvard's strategic directions, provides counsel to the University's leadership on priorities and plans, has the power of consent to certain actions of the Corporation, and directs the visitation process by which various Harvard Schools and departments are periodically reviewed and assessed.
Oxtoby is the ninth president of Pomona College and began his tenure in July 2003. An internationally known physical chemist, he also holds the title of professor of chemistry and annually teaches a course in environmental chemistry. Under his leadership, Pomona has adopted a new general education curriculum, created new departments of computer science and media studies, and pursued interdisciplinary initiatives in such areas as neuroscience and environmental analysis, while also enhancing the institution's resources devoted to the arts. During his tenure, the College has also launched a range of sustainability efforts, maintained its commitment to need-based financial aid, and intensified its outreach to high school students from historically underrepresented groups.
Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012, Oxtoby is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Chemical Society. He currently serves on the Boards of the Toyota Technological Institute-Chicago, the Institute for the International Education of Students and the Claremont University Consortium Board of Overseers, in addition to Harvard University's Board of Overseers.