The two things that strike you immediately about Jim are his intelligence and his kindness. If you’ve ever debated him—whether on a legal matter or what the best Bruce Springsteen song is—you will find a formidable opponent. You know when he is listening closely that he is about to simplify the most complex issue or question into a clear sense of what’s true, what’s right, and what should be done next. It is his both his intellect and moral compass together that sets him apart.
Jim’s authentic leadership style is a reflection of the way he regularly engages with the world: with humility, honesty, and a keen sense of humor. Guided by institutional mission, alongside an ambitious pursuit of equity and justice, he inspires all of us—faculty, staff, and students alike—to do our best work. At Harvard, we will never forget his genuine care for all members of the community. He didn’t say this explicitly, but a running theme of his was to help people do their best work and thereby help the school to have a greater impact. Although we miss him dearly, we are heartened that he is using his considerable talents to strengthen all of higher education through his leadership of the University of Virginia.
In May of this year, Long was named dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, succeeding James E. Ryan.