Letter from 60th anniversary steering committee co-chairs

June 03, 2020

Tom Glynn and Susan Windham-Bannister
Thomas Glynn and Susan Windham-Bannister

Welcome to this very special edition of Heller Magazine, released at the culmination of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management’s 60th anniversary year.

As you look at the content of the magazine, we hope you enjoy reading the recollections of favorite professors, looking at photos of Heller then and now, and learning from Dean Weil’s reflections on consistent themes throughout Heller’s history. You will also learn about the interesting work of members of the Heller community, including promoting youth development through skateboarding in Afghanistan, leading excursions up Mount Everest and supporting critical sustainable development projects in the region, and setting up drug-checking centers in Massachusetts.

As the co-chairs of the Heller 60th Anniversary steering committee, we’ve had the great privilege to roll up our sleeves and dive back into Heller with the objectivity that comes with distance and time. Like it was for many of you, the unique confluence of Heller’s emphasis on social justice and applied policy research brought both of us through the school’s doors originally. And our homecoming is rooted in deep appreciation for the ways that our Heller education has been foundational to our career achievements.

Now, more than ever, the world needs Heller. As the sense of urgency in addressing societal problems quickens, Heller has a unique role to play in equipping students with a solid understanding of research and policy development, and the skills to co-create innovative and compassionate solutions.

Thank you for all the ways that you’ve engaged with the Heller School this year. We’ve asked you to get involved by connecting with current and prospective students and alumni; attending gatherings with other members of the Heller community, be it in Mumbai, Waltham or digitally; and sharing your social justice hero and your favorite professor as part of our year-long campaign, launched in Heller Magazine in spring 2019. To kick things off, here are ours:

Tom: My social justice heroes are Charles Schottland, first dean of the Heller School, and Ernest (Ernie) Green, one of the Little Rock Nine. Schottland formed a school devoted to social justice and to building the field by training future deans and academic leaders of social policy schools around the country. Green was the first African American to graduate from Little Rock Central High School. He’s an iconic civil rights figure who remains active today.

My favorite professor was Leonard Hausman, former Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy. Hausman taught me to take prudent risks, and together with Dean Schottland, we launched the first master’s degree program at Heller in 1977.

Sue: My social justice hero is Elijah Cummings, former U.S. Representative. He constantly exhorted us to be better as a society, and we’ve lost an important voice since his passing. As for my favorite Heller professor, Norm Kurtz taught statistics in a fun and relevant way that made me love it. These quantitative skills have served me well over the years.

As we look ahead to Heller’s next 60 years, we urge you to stay connected: connected to the school, the students, the alumni, and in particular, to the practice of social justice. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?


Thomas P. Glynn III, MSW’72, PhD’77

Co-Chair, Heller 60th Anniversary Steering Committee

CEO, Harvard Allston Land Company

Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Harvard Kennedy School

Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD’77, H’19

Co-Chair, Heller 60th Anniversary Steering Committee

President and CEO, Biomedical Growth Strategies