Institute of Politics Announces New Members of Senior Advisory Committee


Former NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden and Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu to Serve as Members of Senior Advisory Committee.

November 7, 2019

CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School today announced the appointment of new members of the Institute’s Senior Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee works closely with the Institute to fulfill its mission to inspire Harvard students to pursue pathways in politics and public service. New members joining the Committee are: Charles Bolden Jr., former Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

“I am thrilled to welcome these two outstanding public servants who are committed to the mission of the Institute.  They will add enormously to the work of the Senior Advisory Committee and we look forward to their engagement,” said Ambassador Caroline Kennedy ‘80, Honorary Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee.

“For over 50 years, the Institute of Politics has connected the academy and political practitioners to support the next generation of leaders in public service. Charles Bolden and Michelle Wu bring important perspectives and experiences that will advance the Institute’s mission,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee.

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden Jr., (USMC-Ret.) served as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 2009-2017. During his tenure, Bolden oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions to a new era of exploration. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Bolden had a 34-year career with the Marine Corps, including flying more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; serving as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait; and 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. Bolden's many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2003 and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006 and the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2017.

“I am indeed humbled and honored to be brought onboard as a member of the Senior Advisory Committee for the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) of Harvard Kennedy School.  I look forward to joining in the critically important work of the IOP in identifying and encouraging talented students of today to follow the example of John F. Kennedy in dedicating their lives to public service and enhancing the quality of life for all humanity,” said Charles Bolden Jr.

Michelle Wu is a Boston City Councilor (at-large), first elected in November 2013 at the age of 28 and the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. She became the first woman of color to serve as the President of the City Council from 2016-2018. Wu has a background in community advocacy and got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy; she later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Wu has been honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as part of Marie Claire magazine’s New Guard: The 50 Most Influential Women in America.

“At this very consequential moment in politics and government, we need young people from every background to bring their talents to public service. The IOP has the opportunity to play an important role in inspiring and connecting the next generation to leadership, service, and social justice. I’m honored to join the Senior Advisory Committee with that focus and look forward to doing all I can to support the next generation of leadership for the public good,” said Michelle Wu.

“I am looking forward to the service of Michelle Wu and Charles Bolden on our Senior Advisory Committee. They have both led lives of consequence and stand as models to our students for careers committed to public purpose,” said Mark D. Gearan ‘78, Institute of Politics Director. 

Additional membership of the IOP’s Senior Advisory Committee includes: David Axelrod, Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics and former Senior Advisor to President Obama; Richard L. Berke, Executive Editor, STAT, and former Assistant Managing Editor, The New York Times; Sarah Bianchi ‘95, Chair, Advisory Board, Biden Institute, and former Head of Global Policy Development and Federal Affairs, Airbnb; Heather Campion, Managing Director, Koya Leadership Partners, and former CEO, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation; Torie Clarke, former Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, SAP, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs; William Delahunt, Special Counsel, The Delahunt Group, and former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts’ 10th District; Manny Diaz, Senior Partner, Lydecker Diaz, and former Mayor of Miami; Joseph Kennedy III J.D. ‘09, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts' 4th District; Susan Molinari, former Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google, and former U.S. Representative from New York's 13th District; Philip R. Sharp, Past President, Resources for the Future and former U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 2nd and 10th Districts; Olympia Snowe, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center, and former U.S. Senator from Maine; Elise Stefanik ‘06, U.S. Representative from New York's 21st District; and Christine Todd Whitman, President, Whitman Strategy Group and former Governor of New Jersey and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

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About the Institute of Politics

The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School was established in 1966 as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The Institute’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The Institute blends the academy with practical politics and offers students the opportunity to engage on current events and to acquire skills and perspective that will assist in their postgraduate choices.