john-harvardNext Chapters  -- June Classmate-Led Discussions and Breakouts

Saturday, June 4th Programming Preview

As part of our January Class Survey, many of you said you wanted 45th reunion programming that offered opportunities for conversations with classmates around topics of both personal relevance and social significance. The result: “Next Chapters” Reunion Programming. It began this winter on Zoom, and will be in full swing on Saturday afternoon, June 4 in Cambridge.

The June 4th programming on will focus on “Next Chapters” In Our Lives and three topics related to “Next Chapters” For Our Society, described below. Each will combine discussion and reflection. For Our Society sessions* will feature a plenary session and classmate-facilitated breakout group discussions.

9:00–10:30 am               Longitudinal Study Results


2:30–5:30 pm                 Classmate-Led Discussions and Breakouts:


2:30 - 3:50pm           Personal Reflections Sessions

                                               Strengthening Democracy*

                                               Promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion*


4:10 - 5:30pm           Personal Reflections Sessions

                                               Addressing Climate Change*


To help you consider in which activities you’d like to participate, the following provides an overview of the programming for each topic. Click on the Session title to see additional detail and resources.

Classmates registered for the reunion (by Monday, May 23)—will receive an email explaining how to sign up for the June events of your choice. Please be on the lookout for that email.

In Our Lives

Longitudinal Survey Results and Personal Reflection Sessions  - Science Center Lecture Hall D

On Saturday morning (9:00-10:30am), we will explore together how the arc of our lives has changed over the last years and decades as we review the latest wave of responses from the Longitudinal Survey.

Personal Reflections -- Small Group Discsussions - Science Center (specific rooms yet to be assigned)

On Saturday afternoon (2:30-3:50 pm and 4:10-5:30 pm), you will have an opportunity to share experiences, perspectives, and insights in confidential, unrecorded, small group discussions around issues of particular interest and resonance. The content and direction of each conversation will be largely determined by the classmates participating in them.

The topics for these discussion groups are planned to include:

  • Changing priorities and commitments around work and life in the second half of our sixties
  • Keeping relationships with spouses/life partners strong and reinvigorated as work/life roles shift
  • Coming to terms with the realities of aging and mortality
  • (Re)assessing the role of spirituality and religion in our lives
  • Figuring out how we can best contribute to the success and well-being of the next generation
  • Exploring and assessing the imprint of our Harvard years on our lives 

For Our Society

Strengthening Democracy (2:30-3:50 pm) - Science Center Lecture Hall

How can we, the Class of ’77, strengthen democracy in our Country and in our communities?  In this session, together we will explore answers to this existential question across a range of related fronts and from different perspectives. Each breakout session will take deep dialogue dives into our personal experiences and potential solutions that can make a positive impact on what seem to be intractable problems in the political landscape. Based on your feedback and interests as gleaned over the last few months and the April 13th Zoom Gathering, we’ve tentatively planned 12 planned breakout sessions:

  • Can Harvard Address Endowment Disparities between Traditionally White and Historically Black Colleges & Universities? – Jim Berkman
  • Strengthening Democracy 101 – an overview of major threats and potential solutions – David Brodwin
  • Strengthening Democracy, Improving Effectiveness of Government, and Reducing Polarization at the State Level – Alison Clarkson
  • What I Learned About Strengthening Democracy While Serving in Local, State and Federal government. – Rich Lipman
  • Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative as a Platform for Strengthening Democracy and Related Social Impact Work – Tom Manning
  • Getting Involved: How to find to join and/or support good orgs active in strengthening democracy – Harry Masters
  • Including Marginalized Populations in the Discussion of Strengthening and Expanding Democracy in our World -- Felipe Nogura & EnRico Melson
  • How Global Inequality is a Driver of the Global Drift Towards Authoritarianism and What can be Done About It -- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (invited)
  • Improving Performance of U.S. Congress through “Rebuild Congress Initiative” & “Task Force on Congressional Reform” – Bruce Patton
  • Media Pressure Points – What Can We Do to Bring Pressure on Social Media Platforms, either Directly or via Advertisers – Tom Phillips
  • Driving Toward a More Inclusive Democracy – Dan Rothstein & Luis Fraga

You’re invited to join whichever breakout fires your passion to share your thoughts and help identify actions each of us can take to make our democracy work in the best interests of all Americans.

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (2:30-3:50 pm) - Science Center Lecture Hall

This topic’s kickoff Zoom Gathering is scheduled for May 24th, as listed above.

The June 4th session plenary topic will focus on the recent Harvard and The Legacy of Slavery report, on which participants’ thoughts and ideas will be solicited. Its specific form and content will not be finalized until after the May 24 Zoom Gathering. Questions we may explore include:

  • How is Harvard’s history present, both in the wider world and in our own lives?
  • What can we do next, not only as Harvard grads, but as “We the People”?

Please continue to monitor the DEI program drop down under the HR77 Programming tab for future updates and resources.

Addressing Climate Change (4:10-5:30 pm) - Science Center Lecture Hall

Without major changes, human actions are forecast to cause global warming and catastrophic consequences.  Many of us are deeply concerned; some of us are already taking actions while others are wondering how to get involved.

This session, building on the content of our April 28th HR’77 Zoom Gathering, will focus on the topics that were of the greatest interest to the participants:

  • Recap the technologies and large-scale actions that can help us limit temperature increases to 1.5C degrees.
  • Learn how we can take personal actions to reduce our own carbon footprint, managing investments and more.
  • Understand what government policies could be most effective and how we can, individually and collectively, become citizen advocates for policy changes.
  • Explore how our class can work together over time to continue to learn and make a difference.

It will start with classmate presentations, go into separate in-person and remote Zoom participant breakout conversations, and return for summary discussions. At the conclusion, we will poll both Zoom and in-person participants to gather input and guidance on how we work together going forward, to make a difference.