BOSTON—The portrait of former Harvard Business School (HBS) Dean Jay Light, George F. Baker Professor of Administration Emeritus, was recently unveiled in the foyer of the School's Baker Library/Bloomberg Center, where it hangs among portraits of his predecessors. The painting was done by the well-known artist John Howard Sanden, who numbers among his other subjects David Rockefeller and William Clay Ford of Ford Motor Company.
As part of his distinguished forty-year career as a teacher and scholar, Light served as dean of Harvard Business School from 2005 to 2010. He was the ninth dean since the School's founding in 1908.
Long a key figure in the academic leadership of HBS, Light served as chair of the School's finance unit from 1986 to 1988, then as senior associate dean and director of faculty planning from 1988 to 1994. In 1998, he was appointed Senior Associate Dean, responsible for strategic planning and new initiatives.
Dean Nitin Nohria opened the portrait unveiling ceremony, noting the great accomplishments of Light's deanship.
"Jay led HBS through some of its most memorable and most challenging times," said Nohria. "Under his leadership, in 2008 we celebrated the School's centennial celebration, which served as the catalyst for conversations around curriculum enhancements. He also saw the School through the economic crisis, during which he protected its foundations and pushed the School forward. We are honored to have Jay join the remarkable group of Deans already in this gallery. Jay's portrait captures his character, great humor, love for and pride in HBS."
When the global economic crisis posed a new set of tests for the School, Light led a swift and successful effort to scale back expenses and reset the budget. He also mobilized a group of faculty experts in finance and economics to lead the School's research into the causes of the crisis, creating a range of new courses, cases, Executive Education offerings, and student activities.
During Light's tenure as dean there were also important developments in the School's MBA program, including the development of Immersion Experience Programs (faculty-led seminars in selected regions of the world). He worked to initiate and develop joint degree programs with the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Medical School and to strengthen the existing program with the Harvard Law School.
Former Dean John McArthur also offered his praise. "Jay and I have worked together since we both started here, and Jay has been a very special friend and builder of this community," he said. "Jay has contributed far beyond his teaching and research, and this is a chance for us to thank him for all that he did."
"HBS is a special place with a very important task – to take people and transform them into business leaders of the future," said Light. "I treasure the way the faculty, staff, students and alumni work together. Deans are only part of a larger group of people who make things happen here every day."
For 35 years or more, John Howard Sanden has been one of the nation's leading portrait artists. He has completed hundreds of commissioned portraits of leading figures in government, business, education, and the professions. He has lectured and taught at the Art Students League of New York for nearly three decades, written five books on portrait painting, produced numerous instructional videos, and conducts nationwide seminars, workshops and master classes. Sanden has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Portrait Brokers of America, the John Singer Sargent Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Society of Portrait Artists, and an honorary doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Houghton College.