THE CREATION OF A PORTRAIT


Following the February 2010 meeting of the 1960 Class luncheon, a small group of us gathered to discuss what our class might do as a class gift on the occasion of our 50th reunion in May. As we looked at the profile of our class, it was clearly evident that the greatest impact our class has had on the University was in the person of our classmate, Jack Reardon. His tenure alone at Harvard was going to be 45 years as of July 1, 2010. What became intriguing was the thought of commissioning his portrait. We had no idea of what they cost and who would be the appropriate recipient‹the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), the College, the Department of Athletics? It was agreed that the idea of a portrait was worth taking to the next level of inquiry. Two people were needed to give approval‹Jane, his wife, and Drew Faust, his ultimate boss.

We started with Charlie Cardillo, in the Harvard Development Office, to ask the Administrationšs approval and the internal protocol of a portrait. We found very positive support. By April we were confident that we could get the project launched. However, to keep the potential of a surprise at a high level, we decided that the less we said, the better the surprise for Jack. It was decided that the best time during the reunion to present the project was as part of the opening event with President Faust in attendance. We agreed, provided everybody was clear that it was a 50th Reunion gift only and not any suggestion of his retirement. It was agreed that the announcement would come at the conclusion of the Presidentšs opening remarks during the opening session of our reunion.

It came as a great surprise to Jack and received overwhelming support from everyone in attendance. The early summer brought us a clearer image of what the budget should be and what we needed to find in a painter who would take the commission. Our task was to find a small number of qualified portrait painters to recommend to Jack with the caveat that he was also free to recommend any other artist. By mid-August Jack had picked the artist. By early September the schedule was in place and the contract executed.

During this period we were approached by the Development Office to see if we would consider anonymous gifts in support of the project. Within a short time we received offers to pay one half of the total cost. This was followed by a check to the class a few days later! By early December 2010, the painting was completed and the framed portrait was received.

The timing of the presentation and location where the painting would hang was delegated to a group of senior representatives of the University. The time was fixed for the presentation/ unveiling; Thursday afternoon of the Spring HAA meeting (April 14, 2011) when most Directors, plus former HAA presidents would be in town. A request was made to hang the portrait in the Lounge of the Murr Center, and enthusiastic approval was received, at which point the HAA took over the planning and execution of the reception. It was to be a Class of 1960 reception.

The class Reunion Committee was invited to attend along with others invited by Jack and Jane and a wealth of representatives from every department and organization within the University.

The Event was spectacular as the pictures suggest! The class was well represented among the more than 120 people who attended.

President Faust was very positive in her affirmation of Jack and this gift from the Class of 1960. The other speaker was Mike Murr, AB 73, MBA 75, a close friend of Jackšs, who contributed the building and thus the lounge in which the portrait was to be hung. When presented with the opportunity to hang the portrait in the lounge, Mike affirmed the proposal as the right site for the great symbol of the strong link Jack represented between athletics, academics, and student life.

On behalf of the Class, we are happy to report that the gift was enthusiastically received and is now available to be viewed in the third floor Murr lounge.

Congratulations to you, the Class of 1960, for a truly far-reaching gift of this portrait of a classmate who has impacted Harvard in so many positive ways.