Fascinating article about Williams Trustee Clayton Spencer ’77.

The end of early action. The Task Force on the Arts. The dramatic increases in financial aid.

While all three changes grabbed headlines this year, the woman who organized them is virtually unknown outside the Harvard administration.

Though she shies from the limelight, behind the scenes A. Clayton Spencer is one of the most influential officials at Harvard.

Her nondescript title, vice president for policy, belies a wide array of accomplishments, from helping orchestrate the 1999 merger of Radcliffe and Harvard to pushing through the launch and expansion of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative.

But she prefers anonymity, declining repeated interview requests, which a Harvard spokesman attributed to a desire not to garner publicity during University President Drew G. Faust’s first year, and only consenting to an interview when asked for this profile.

Modest about her influence, Spencer frequently lists the names of other Harvard officials when describing her own duties, the word “colleagues” peppering her language.

Read the whole thing. Spencer seems like a good choice for the Presidential Search Committee. No other trustee knows as much about the issues facing elite higher education.

UPDATE: Thanks to Guy for the class correction.

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