Harvard board that 'unanimously' supports Gay is overwhelmingly liberal, funds Democrats

A Campus Reform analysis of the Harvard Corporation's membership reveals that 64% of the board are either Democratic politicians or individuals who overwhelmingly support liberal candidates.

The Harvard Corporation, which oversees the Ivy League institution, issued a statement Tuesday declaring that it “unanimously stand[s] in support of President Gay.” 

Gay’s future at Harvard University came under threat following a highly controversial Congressional testimony that resulted in the resignation of University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and revelations that Gay allegedly plagiarized her doctoral dissertation. 

[RELATED: Attention turns toward Harvard, MIT after Penn President Magill resigns]

A Campus Reform analysis of the Harvard Corporation’s membership reveals that the 11-person body (not counting Gay) includes seven individuals who are either Democratic politicians or who overwhelmingly support liberal candidates. 

Campus Reform did not identify any current Corporation member who is a Republican politician or donates overwhelmingly to conservative candidates with comparative intensity. 

These Harvard Corporation members are: 

Penny Pritzker 

Pritzker served as President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce from 2013-2017. 

Timothy D. Barakett

Barakett, an investor and businessman, is chairman of TRB Advisors. OpenSecrets records show that Barakett has only donated to Democratic candidates and committees. He donated a combined $59,950 between 2020-2022. 

Kenneth I. Chenault

Chenault is the chairman and CEO of American Express Company. Besides donations to his company’s Political Action Committee, Chenault overwhelmingly donates to Democratic candidates and committees. Between 1995-2014, Chenault donated $78,450 (92%) and $6,900 (8%) to Republicans.

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar

Cuéllar served as an associate judge on California’s Supreme Court from 2015-2021. The political website Ballotpedia rates him as a “Strong Democrat.” 

Karen Gordon Mills 

From 2009-2013, Gordon Mills served as President Obama’s Administrator of the Small Business Administration. 

Diana L. Nelson

Nelson did not donate to any Republicans between 2009-2023 as director or executive at Carlson Inc. During that time, she gave $132,400 to Democratic candidates and committees, according to OpenSecrets. In 2022, Nelson contributed $3,000 to Crimson Turns Blue, a Political Action Committee run by Harvard alumni that supports the Democratic Party. 

Paul Wells

Wells is a lawyer with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He has an extensive giving history that dates back to 1999. Campus Reform could not find one Republican candidate that Wells has given to in 24 years. He has donated over $36,000 to individual Democratic candidates in 2023 alone, according to OpenSecrets. 


Carolyn A. “Biddy” Martin

Martin is a former president of Amherst College in Massachusetts. During Martin’s tenure, Campus Reform covered her sympathies with leftist student activists on campus. She played a role in the students’ process of canceling the college’s mascot. Martin does not have a record of political giving, according to OpenSecrets.