Janet Echelman AB ’87, LF ’08 has been voted onto the Harvard Board of Overseers and will complete the remaining four years of the term of Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar ’93, who has been elected to the Harvard Corporation. She is an artist who defies categorization. Combining ancient craft with material science and engineering, her experiential sculptures at the scale of buildings have become inviting focal points for civic life on five continents. Named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban space,” she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award.

As a visiting professor at MIT, Echelman led a collaboration of engineering, computer science, and architecture graduate students. Next year she will teach at Princeton. Beyond academia, she seeks to address wider audiences. Her work was ranked first on Oprah’s list of “50 Things That Will Make You Say ‘Wow!’” Her TED talk, “Taking Imagination Seriously,” has more than two million views and has been translated into 37 languages

The Board of Overseers is one of Harvard’s two governing boards, the other being the President and Fellows, also known as the Corporation. The primary function of the Board of Overseers is to encourage the University to maintain the highest attainable standards as a place of learning. The new Overseers were elected from a slate of nine candidates who were nominated by an HAA committee as prescribed by the election rules.

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