Student Spotlight: MTS ’17 Jim Hackett on business, faith, and education

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This week, the HDS Office of Admissions caught up with one of our MTS students, Jim Hackett. Known for both his business acumen and for his cheerful and friendly disposition around campus, Jim participated in the Special Students program and is now an incoming MTS student. Below, he shares his reflections on what his HDS experience has meant to him so far.

HDS Office of Admissions (HDS): Can you tell us a little about your background? You’ve been in the workforce for a number of years–how have you spent your pre-HDS years?

Jim Hackett (JH): I was fortunate to be able to spend my career in business, leading several large global enterprises in the energy field. …I taught as an Adjunct Professor at Rice University’s graduate school of business, which re-kindled a continuing interest in teaching.  I suspect, any good person who leads others becomes a teacher, no matter what profession they pursue. 

“While HDS is rigorous, it is also a special place for reflection, learning, and improving as an individual and a group.”

(HDS): What brought you to HDS? Did you ever anticipate that you would pursue a degree in theological study?

(JH): Since the Air Force Academy, I have had a strong interest in studying comparative theology, but only as an amateur. What brought me to HDS (and formal theological training) were primarily two events–the failure of a major corporation managed by Midwestern Christians like me (i.e. Enron Corp) and the comments from a successful business man at a Harvard reunion: he told me that he read the Bible every day…but didn’t believe in God.  It then struck me that more research and teaching needed to be conducted about integrating spiritual and intellectual values within secular professions.
 
My mission is to change how we discuss and pursue spiritual values, not just secular ethics. HDS has helped me in many ways in that regard, including with my plans to write a book on faith and leadership and to teach undergraduates at the University of Texas about religion, spirituality, and ethics.
Former CEO and current MTS student at Harvard Divinity School, Jim Hackett. Photo by Bloomberg.

Former CEO and current MTS student at Harvard Divinity School, Jim Hackett. Photo by Bloomberg.

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From the Navy to DivEx to the HDS Office of Admissions: Meet David Waters, our new graduate assistant!

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David Waters, newest graduate assistant for the HDS Office of Admissions, has quite the resume. From his time in the Navy to his participation in our Diversity and Explorations Program (DivEx), David ultimately chose to attend HDS to study the intersection of religion, literature, and culture. David looks forward to talking with prospective students about the DivEx program and about life at HDS!

David Waters, new graduate assistant for the HDS Office of Admissions. Photo by Elias Igue

David Waters, new graduate assistant for the HDS Office of Admissions. Photo by Elias Igue

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Summer in the City: Reflecting Back on Boston’s Snowiest Winter

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Some people might celebrate Christmas in July, but here at Harvard we remember last December just a little too well.

After enduring Boston’s snowiest winter in recorded history, even hot and humid July seems like a gift. Around Harvard Divinity School’s campus, students, faculty, and staff alike can be heard giving thanks for summer–even when summer brings 90 degree weather.

Campus pathway transformed by snow. Photos by Caroline Matas

Campus pathway transformed by snow. Photos by Caroline Matas

Winter and summer entrance into Harvard Yard. Photos by Caroline Matas

Winter and summer entrance into Harvard Yard. Photos by Caroline Matas

Snow buries a bench outside of Divinity Hall. Photos by Caroline Matas

Snow buries a bench outside of Divinity Hall. Photos by Caroline Matas

By the time next winter comes around, we are sure we will be excited to don our winter gear and play in the snow. Until then, though, we’ll take all the sunshine we can get.

Goethe and German Pretzels: A Snapshot of the HDS Summer Language Program

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“By the end of this week, I’ll have you translating Goethe.”

This was the promise my professor made to our class on the first day of the HDS Summer Language Program. We looked back at her, incredulous.

“I’m serious,” she said. “Every year I say this to my students, and they think I’ve gone off the deep end, but by the end of the week you’ll see that I’m right. The transformation that you’ll experience in this next eight weeks will shock you.”

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Harvard Eats: Velozo’s Food Truck

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In cities across the country, food trucks have become a favorite way to dine on the go, and Harvard has been only too happy to hop on board. Every day, the Harvard Science Center Plaza hosts a selection of food trucks offering fresh, delicious lunch and dinner options.

However, just down the street from the Yard is a hidden Harvard gem worthy of the classic boast, “Before it was cool.”

Velozo's food truck on Divinity Ave. Photo by Caroline Matas

Velozo’s food truck on Divinity Ave. Photo by Caroline Matas

Velozo’s food truck is a family business that has served breakfast and lunch to the Harvard community since 1960. Every day, rain or shine, Dean Velozo is standing by with homemade bagels, soups, sandwiches, cookies, and a rotating cast of Italian entrees.

The best part? Velozo’s food truck is located right on Divinity Avenue.

Dean Velozo shows off today's batch of chocolate chunk cookies. Photo by Caroline Matas

Dean Velozo shows off today’s batch of chocolate chunk cookies. Photo by Caroline Matas

The HDS community have long been proud patrons of Velozo’s. Here in the Office of Admissions, we have been known to begin heated debates about which Velozo’s cookie is our favorite: could it be the red velvet, or maybe the s’more? Or perhaps the double chocolate chip? We’ve even had one brave-but-deluded coworker argue in favor of the oatmeal raisin. Despite our flavor debates, however, we all agree that Velozo’s has the best cookies we’ve ever tasted.

Tantalizing row of cookies at Velozo's food truck. Photo by Caroline Matas

Tantalizing row of cookies at Velozo’s food truck. Photo by Caroline Matas

But don’t take our word for it: plan a visit to Cambridge and try Velozo’s delicious fare for yourself.


Learn more about Harvard Common Spaces here.

Summer in the City: Campus Volleyball

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Did you know that there’s a sand volleyball court behind Divinity Hall? Whether you decide to form a league with your classmates or simply use the court at your leisure with friends, nothing says “summer” quite like playing in the sand.

Students play a pick-up volleyball game behind Divinity Hall. Photo by Caroline Matas

Students play a pick-up volleyball game behind Divinity Hall. Photo by Caroline Matas

Stay tuned for more snapshots of summer at Harvard!

Commencement 2015

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Commencement Day at Harvard–a 364-year-old heritage–is so steeped in meaningful traditions and quirks that there is no other ceremony in the world quite like it. From each graduate school’s sunrise breakfast to the academic parade through Harvard Yard, Commencement is an all-day celebration of the years of hard work Harvard students put in to earn their degree.

Yesterday, our graduating students donned their crow’s feet and celebrated alongside their friends and families as they received, at long last, their VNIVERSITAS HARVARDIANA diplomas.

As we celebrate the Harvard Divinity School class of 2015, we look forward to the upcoming classes that will wear these robes, walk these halls, and become part of a nearly 400-year-old tradition whose legacy will become part of their own.

Graduating MTS Kevin McIntosh takes in Commencement Day events from higher ground. Photo by Sarah Guzy

Graduating MTS Kevin McIntosh takes in Commencement Day events from higher ground. Photo by Sarah Guzy

Neighborhood Spotlight, Part IV: A Tour Through Central Square

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This is the fourth post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To catch up on earlier installments in this series, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square, Part II, An Ode to Union Square, and Part III, A Tribute to Harvard Square.

For those of you who consistently hunger for a beautiful view of the Charles, let’s start at the Smoot bridge before we head to Central Square. With the Boston skyline on either side and Cambridge straight ahead, even the crankiest New Englanders find it hard not to enjoy the views on this bridge.

Sunset on the Charles in Cambridge. Photo by Caroline Matas

Sunset on the Charles in Cambridge. Photo by Caroline Matas

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Spring Celebrations: HDS’s Annual Baby Animal Extravaganza

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Last year, a new HDS tradition was born: Celebrating spring and reading week with the cutest procrastination aids around–baby animals! Last week, Animal Craze petting zoo of Winchendon, MA brought some of its newest residents to snuggle our students in the midst of their finals stress. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Photos by Aisha Ansano and Caroline Matas

Neighborhood Spotlight, Part III: A Tribute to Harvard Square

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This is the third post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To catch up on earlier installments in this series, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square and Part II, An Ode to Union Square.

Oh, Harvard Square, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  1. I love that you’re so conveniently located, a place where everyone goes to meet for food, drinks, and merriment. Relatedly, no one has ever told you that you’re too far to visit (cough cough), unlike Davis or Union square.
Harvard Square. Photo by Caroline Matas

Harvard Square. Photo by Caroline Matas

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