David Wippman.

In “Parting Thoughts from a Retiring President,” President David Wippman answered a range of questions as he reflected on his eight-year tenure at the College. Inside Higher Ed Senior Editor Susan Greenberg interviewed Wippman via Zoom, and her June 10 article included excerpts from that conversation.

During their conversation, Wippman said that he was proudest of the way he led the campus through the COVID-19 pandemic, and that he looks forward to spending time with his grandson, writing about higher ed, and continuing to participate in Harvard’s Presidents-in-Residence program to help prepare the next generation of college leaders.

Wippman responded to questions about the growing challenges of the job, including the rise in student mental health needs, demands around fundraising, changing student demographics, declining public confidence in higher ed, and the negative political environment, among others. He also answered questions on making presidential statements and navigating free speech versus hate speech. But despite all the challenges that he addressed during the interview, he said that college presidencies are “incredible jobs. They really are.”

He concluded by advising that resilience is key to being a successful president as well as having a good confident/mentor or as he suggested, “Find a rabbi.”

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