After 17 years at the Institute of Politics, this week will be our friend and colleague Director of Fellows and Study Groups Eric Andersen’s last at the IOP.
We will miss Eric in the halls of the IOP and wish him the best in his new venture. Eric will join the T.H. Chan School of Public Health as director of Director of the Senior Leadership Fellows Program and Deputy Director of Voices in Leadership. Our resident IOP historian, Eric began his Harvard career at the Shorenstein Center on the Media, Politics and Public Policy. Eric recently earned his ALM with a concentration in history from Harvard University.
Over his time at the IOP, Eric has selected 29 classes of IOP Resident and Visiting Fellows. Working closely with students, Eric has perfected the art of selecting a group of political practitioners to lead our students through the semester. His success is evident in the number of lifelong friendships that have abounded between IOP Fellows.
Many of these Fellows alumni, staff and students wrote to share some of their favorite memories from the IOP and our satellite campus at Shay’s, a selection of which are below.
“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get involved with FSG during your time leading it, Eric. You have made this program into the most influential experience I have ever had, and I am incredibly grateful that I've been able to both benefit from all of your hard work and, more importantly, get to know you since I first got involved last spring. Your dedication to the program, our students, and our fellows is unparalleled and you will be so missed. You have always gone out of your way to make the program the absolute best that it can be for everyone, and it is truly thanks to you that it has been such a success over the last two decades. You are the model of an individual who has dedicated so much of your life to public service and to the future of politics and political discourse on our campus and in the broader world, and I am confident that the Chan School will be far better off with you there in the future. Thank you, good luck, and I'll miss you!”
– Emily Hall (Fellows & Study Groups Co-Chair)
"Eric, it's hard to believe but we've been working together for over two years now since the beginning of my Harvard career. The IOP is by far the best thing that I have been a part of in my time here and when I think about the IOP, I think of you. Thank you for leading the fellows program for all these decades and for helping all of us students have a voice in the institute. I personally have learned so much about being a good leader, and most importantly a good person. I consider you a great mentor and friend of mine and I look forward to seeing you succeed in the next phase of your life at the School of Public Health! "
– Jason Ge (Fellows & Study Groups Co-Chair)
“When I arrived at the Institute of Politics, a stranger in a strange land, with an acronym reminiscent of a pancake house, the first person I encountered was Eric Andersen. I was a stranger, and he took me in. My experience as a fellow was among my life’s most memorable. Of all the friends I made and all the big shots I encountered, Eric was the most memorable. He literally defined the Institute of Politics for me.”
– Alex Sanders (Class of fall 2003)
“Eric Andersen poured his heart and soul into the IOP Fellowship Program. And all of us who participated in it remain in his debt. He was a steady source of support to us and always approached whatever issues arouse in the course of the semester with an extraordinary sense of “can-do.” He specialized in how we might utilize the tremendous resources at Harvard to enrich our experience at the IOP and to benefit our students. I cannot think of a single reasonable request he declined any of us. His unwritten motto seemed to be, “If it is good for our students, we will find a way to do it. Speaking for myself, Eric has remained a good friend and steady source of advice in the decade that has passed since I was a Fellow. That is, perhaps, the true measure of his diligence and devotion. Seldom have I seen any professional enjoy a position more than Eric did the one he is about to vacate. I look forward to following the extraordinary achievements that lay ahead of him.”
– Alvin Falzenberg (Class of spring 2006)
“When I was an IOP fellow I had the luxury of being in the class with Jesse Ventura. You have to love Jesse and it did not take long for all the fellows to see that while Jesse was "out there" in his perspective on many issues, his heart was as big as he was. Yet, I remember when I came in as a fellow, Eric walked me through the list of other fellows and when he came to Jesse, he grinned and said to me, "You are the most by the book political operative we may have ever had and your record of success in political campaigns shows it - well Mr. Ying, welcome to your Yang because this class of fellows includes Governor Jesse Ventura." I laughed, of course, but soon realized that I certainly could learn as much from Jesse as he ever could from me. Eric will be sorely missed. He has been a rock of stability at an institution that not without expectation often changes leadership at the top as talented political experts move in and out of the IOP directorship. Best of luck to him and his family as they move in another direction.”
– Professor Steve Jarding (Class of spring 2004)
“Eric has served as a sort of Sherpa for people embarking on new adventures in life. I was a senior advisor to Speaker Pelosi and did a fellowship right after we passed the Affordable Care Act and lost 63 seats and the majority in 2010. I spent Thanksgiving in a profound funk until the idea of an IOP fellowship was mentioned to me. Eric immediately reached out and walked me through every step for the next four whirlwind months. I realized later the role he plays in finding, recruiting, and managing people who have just completed some of the most important work of their lives -- and are therefore extraordinarily relevant to Harvard students -- and how challenging it must have been to take people who consider themselves bigshots, who have every level of teaching ability, technology experience, and adaptability -- and make them useful to students for just one semester -- and then start all over again. Eric is a class act.”
– Ellen Qualls (Class of spring 2011)
“I wish Eric the best in his next endeavor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. During my fellowship at Harvard, I observed his unique ability to inspire and connect students with opportunities and experiences in politics. Eric exemplifies the Institute of Politics' mission to inspire students to pursue careers in public service.”
– Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Class of spring 2013)