01 Dec 2001

September 11: A Community Reflects

by Susan Young;Deborah Blagg


“The events of Tuesday have touched everyone deeply in some way, and we are all struggling to find hope in the face of despair.”
—Dean Kim B. Clark


As it has so often on important occasions in Harvard Business School's 93-year history, the green in front of Baker Library served as a gathering place on September 14, when the campus community came together for a noontime memorial service honoring those lost in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Under gray skies, a steady rain fell on students, faculty, and staff members who stood silently as Baker Library's bells tolled in tandem with those across the river at Harvard College and at other locations throughout the University.

Speaking on behalf of Dean Kim B. Clark, who was in New Mexico and unable to return due to airline travel restrictions, longtime faculty member Professor James I. Cash followed this period of silent reflection with remarks underscoring the importance of community during times of national tragedy. "These types of circumstances, as horrific as they may be, serve to remind us of how blessed we are to be members of this wonderful HBS community," Cash said. "As we deal with these events, the strength and support each one of us receives from this community are very important. I want to thank all of you for participating in this support system and for sustaining the unique set of values that defines HBS.

"Stacey M. Childress (MBA '00), director of the HBS Initiative on Social Enterprise, shared the podium with Cash. She elaborated on the community theme, noting, "I've been touched by the dedication with which my former classmates checked on one another's safety and also by the well wishes that have come in from the extended HBS network around the world. We stand together here today as part of a truly global community, one that represents and respects the best of our collective backgrounds and traditions and that is a living example of how people from all over the world can come together around a set of common values, and though not always agreeing— sometimes even vehemently disagreeing — can work toward a common understanding. Together we pray for the victims of this tragedy and hold their families, friends, and colleagues in our hearts."

Scenes from the September 14 campus memorial service where Jim Cash and Stacey Childress (at right) spoke eloquently of the importance of community in difficult times.

Photos by Thomas J. Fitzsimmons

A Week Like No Other

The memorial service came at the end of a week like no other in the School's history, as those who work and study at HBS joined the rest of the world in trying to comprehend the events of September 11. Normal campus activities were suspended on that day to allow students, faculty, and staff time to follow events as they unfolded and to check on the safety of family and friends. Across the University, emergency grief counseling and other services were made available to those in need, and community gatherings were organized to encourage shared reflection and support. The Class of 1959 Chapel became a gathering place for those wanting a quiet space for prayer and contemplation, and in the late afternoon, many members of the community came together outside the chapel to share their grief in an observance led by Father Thomas Patrick Doyle (HBS '03), a former rector and adjunct professor of business ethics at Notre Dame.

With heightened campus security in place, MBA and Executive Education classes resumed on September 12, but in the days that followed, the focus of formal and informal discourse at HBS was on terrorism, personal loss, patriotism, the importance of diversity, and how best to reach out to those directly affected by the attacks. Classroom discussions became even more challenging, as students struggled with uncertainty, grief, and anger. Groups of students came together outside of class to discuss their reactions to the tragedy and to share emotional support. Food and clothing drives were organized on campus, and the School set up a matching fund for contributions made by students, faculty, and staff to the American Red Cross Liberty Fund and The September 11th Fund of the United Way. In addition, online message boards were set up almost immediately to enable concerned alumni to check on the status of classmates, colleagues, and friends.

“I see my family, my neighborhood, my classmates, my countrymen, and even the entire free world pull closer together and seek deeper meaning in their lives because of this seemingly senseless tragedy.”
—Todd Berkley (MBA '93)

Still unable to fly home, Dean Clark, who had been in close contact with the School's administration throughout the week, sent a message of support and encouragement to the HBS community on September 13, offering his sympathy to those who had lost loved ones and his thanks to those who had volunteered assistance. He also counseled the community to continue to rely on each other for support. "The events of Tuesday have touched everyone in some way, and we are all struggling to find hope in the face of despair," Clark noted. "As we look to the future, one thing is clear: We will need to draw continuing support from the communities in which we live and work. This means we must be particularly sensitive, caring, and understanding of the concerns of everyone around us. Our campus reflects the world, bringing together people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Such diversity enriches our daily experiences. I would ask that you accept and cherish this diversity and help one another through the weeks ahead."

Moving Forward Upon his return to campus, Clark checked in with several alumni who were directly affected by the tragedy and met with groups of students and staff. He held a special faculty meeting on September 17 to discuss ways to address the events of September 11 on an academic level. A number of proposals emerged, including discussion groups organized by students and facilitated by faculty; efforts to develop new case materials or to tailor existing materials, teaching plans, or class discussions to address the tragedy and its aftermath; HBS-sponsored panel discussions on topics such as the economic impact of the tragedy, globalization, and international relations; and a new internal Web site intended to deepen the community's knowledge about topics such as U.S.-Middle East relations and terrorism, as well as country histories, key profiles, and a collection of international perspectives.

By mid-September, Senior Associate Dean and MBA Program Chair W. Carl Kester told students that normal grading and attendance requirements— which had been affected by the tragedy— would be reimposed. "As a community, we are still struggling to come to terms with the impact the tragedies have had, and will continue to have, on our lives," Kester noted, acknowledging that some students would still need additional support before resuming regular activities.

On September 28, Professor Richard S. Tedlow led a discussion in Aldrich that allowed students, faculty, and staff to share their reactions to the tragedy and collectively to address the question, "What do you do now?" A number of students voiced their reactions in the pages of the Harbus. Along with expressions of patriotism and cautions against ethnic stereotyping and giving in to feelings of hate, the weekly paper carried articles that pointed to an abrupt shift in priorities. "On Monday, September 10, we worried about permanent class-seat selection," wrote Daniel A. Shanoff (HBS '02) in the September 17 edition. "We sweated the early-term cold call. …The common metaphor we all bank on— that HBS is our own little oasis away from the 'real world'— was pierced. It's hard to believe our year will re-form itself in the way it was before." Shanoff also wondered what the MBA Class of '42 might have been thinking about "right around first-term exams in December 1941, when the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the country into World War."

As students struggled with a new sense of vulnerability, a number of faculty speculated in public forums about the idea of the global economy returning to "business as usual." On the HBS Working Knowledge Web portal, Professor Emeritus James L. Heskett asked readers reflecting on September 11 to ponder "the implications of a possible loss of certain freedoms, its impact on free enterprise, and its effect on global enterprise." "How great are the security costs— at global, national, organizational, and personal levels— needed to achieve the 'peace of mind' with which we did business on September 10?" Heskett asked, and he received many thoughtful responses.

On September 17, the day the stock market opened for the first time after the attacks, Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter watched the Dow plunge as she began a guest appearance on The Connection public radio program. An expert on how businesses adapt to change, Kanter predicted that in the long run, "strong companies and strong people will prevail," and urged U.S. policymakers to think beyond short-term solutions — such as cutting interest rates and letting companies buy back their own stocks — to more lasting measures — such as creating new forms of employment and enhancing security — that will stimulate the economy and restore confidence in the business community.

Pulling Together

In an interview in the September 24 edition of the Harbus, Dean Clark was asked if he believed the mood on campus would be "somber" for the rest of the year. "I don't think somber is the right word," he replied, "but perhaps a little more reflective." Clark predicted that the community would "pull together," and said that the tragedy of September 11 "has reinforced for me the importance of what we're doing."

"When something this tragic and this big happens, it tends to strip away complacency, the taking of things for granted, the day-to-day façade that we build around our lives," Clark observed. "I think there will be a sense of real meaning during the year."

In the same Harbus issue, Rick Leimsider (HBS '03), a new arrival on campus who had "never written to a newspaper before," challenged his fellow students to think about the decisions the country's leaders will be making in the coming months, decisions "that will shape our world for years, possibly decades to come." Leimsider urged reflection and debate on topics such as civilian casualties in time of war, personal freedom vs. security, U.S.-international relations, and the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs that characterize "the American community."

Perhaps expressing the feelings of many of his classmates, Leimsider noted how empowered he felt upon arriving at Harvard to begin his graduate studies and how quickly that feeling gave way to helplessness as he spent several frantic hours trying to locate his mother in New York City on the morning of September 11 (she was safe). "I have to believe that we have some power to make a difference, and with that power comes responsibility and obligation," wrote Leimsider. "Now, more than ever, our community needs our ambition and great expectations."

Alumni Message Boards

While the campus community came together to cope in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, members of the extended HBS community did the same. Given that two of the attacks centered on the nation's — and some would say the world's — financial center, there was an immediate outpouring of concern for alumni casualties. Realizing that HBS alumni would need a mechanism for getting in touch with each other, within two days of the attacks the School had set up electronic message boards for each MBA and Executive Education class and sent out an e-mail to all graduates urging them to use this resource to communicate news and to share their reactions.

“"The common metaphor we all bank on —that HBS is our own little oasis away from the 'real world' —was pierced."
—Daniel A. Shanoff (MBA '02)

The response was swift, as alumni from all over the world logged on and posted messages. While all expressed shock and sorrow, many graduates, including Clive R. Foskett (58th PMD), reported on the solidarity outside the United States. "Everyone in my company has just observed three minutes of silence," wrote Foskett from London. "This has affected all our lives, and here in the U.K., our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost their lives or family members." Others urged understanding and tolerance. After expressing his deep sympathy, Ismail A. Douiri (MBA '99) reported on the mood in Morocco. "It is one of mourning and shock. It is also one of fear that the Western world may at any point associate these acts with the Arab or Muslim culture. Those who acted so cowardly have nothing to do with our culture. The overwhelming majority of the Arab and Muslim world does not identify with these murderers and cannot understand them nor explain their acts."

Some used the message boards to offer classmates (and often friends and family of classmates) a place to stay if needed, propose ideas of how people could help, and express their hope. After reassuring her sectionmates that she was fine, Bertina G. Ceccarelli (MBA '93) reported that she now works with the United Way of New York City. "As you can imagine, we've been working around the clock assessing the most critical emergency needs," she wrote. "We've helped establish The September 11th Fund. Individual contributions are coming in from all over the world. In such a troubling moment, it's reassuring to know there are so many deeply concerned people ready to help."

The majority of messages posted were of two kinds: alumni reporting on classmates they had heard from and alumni asking about friends they worried might have been victims. Individuals diligently compiled lists of people with whom they had been in contact and frantically sent messages asking about people they hadn't reached, most of which were soon answered with reassurances from classmates.

Tragically, there were casualties among the classes to report, and alumni used the message boards to share their grief. Members of the Class of 1993's Section B responded to news of the death of sectionmate Waleed Iskandar by asking for people to share their memories. "Waleed was a vibrant part of our section, and I'm comforted by the good memories I have," wrote M. Evan McDonnell, who, like many of his classmates, remembered "the parties on his rooftop" but also Iskander's "kindness in loaning me a sweatshirt at our first section event." "I will miss his strength, his intelligence, his easygoing smile," wrote Todd Berkley, who later commented on the way the tragedy had already changed the world: "I see my family, my neighborhood, my classmates, my countrymen, and even the entire free world pull closer together and seek deeper meaning in their lives because of this seemingly senseless tragedy."

Similarly, members of the Class of 1991 expressed their grief over the loss of Andy Kates. After conveying feelings of loss, sectionmate Jeffrey S. Shell wrote, "As I am sure many of you are doing, I am grappling for the positive threads in the huge negative clouds of doom. One positive is that times like these reorient us all toward what is important. In the everyday grind of work responsibilities, it is easy to forget the importance of family and friends."

Alumni Take Action

Once they began to recover from the initial shock of the events of September 11, HBS alumni started putting their skills to work. Whether donating money, volunteering their services, organizing blood drives, hosting fundraisers for relief operations, or offering free goods and services, there are countless instances of HBS graduates who mobilized to help.

Henry M. ("Hank") Paulson, Jr. (MBA '70), chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, was one of the first Wall Street executives to announce that his firm would make a significant contribution to the relief effort. After committing $10 million in support, Paulson praised the efforts of others. "We owe a huge debt to our firemen, policemen, rescue workers, doctors, nurses, and others who have done so much for our country, our city, and all of us," he commented in a September 16 New York Times article.

Merrill Lynch's chairman David H. Komansky (107th AMP) and president and COO E. Stanley O'Neal (MBA '78), both of whom were displaced from offices in the World Financial Center, also announced a $10 million corporate donation from their firm. Komansky urged caution in reopening the New York Stock Exchange. "I felt very strongly that the worst thing we could do was open prematurely and then be forced to close because we weren't really prepared," he told the New York Times on the Sunday after the attacks. When trading resumed on September 17, O'Neal praised Merrill's employees for how quickly they adapted to their new offices in Jersey City. "I have told these people they have done the incredible," the Times reported on September 18, "and the bad news is that they have to get up and do it again tomorrow."

As the economic recovery process began, HBS alumni spoke about the importance of getting back on track. Three weeks after the attacks, General Motors president and CEO G. Richard Wagoner, Jr. (MBA '77), told the Wall Street Journal, "The best way we can respond to acts of terrorism on our soil is to keep the economy strong, our employees working, our factories humming, our economy growing, our nation thriving. We're part of the economy, and what we do influences the economy." GM's initial responses included donating $1 million to the American Red Cross Foundation, matching employee donations (which exceeded $1 million), and offering the services of a fleet of vehicles to aid the recovery effort.Creativity and business savvy were apparent in the responses of many HBS graduates. eBay CEO Meg Whitman (MBA '79), for example, launched an effort to raise $100 million in one hundred days called Auction for America. In addition to donating $1 million to the relief effort, 100 percent of the proceeds from all items sold on this special section of the eBay Web site will go to one of four relief agencies.

Not everyone could organize efforts on such a large scale, but the smaller entrepreneurial contributions of numerous alumni did not go unnoticed. As CEO of Impromptu Gourmet, a start-up approaching its one-year anniversary, Max Polaner (MBA '97) knew that his company could not afford a huge donation, but he decided to give all proceeds for a month from dessert purchases to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, which will provide aid to the families of victims of the tragedy who worked in food service throughout the WTC complex.

“It is a great tribute to the School that a group of people who were last together as a full group more than twenty years ago still cares enough about each other to reach out.”
—Laura Petrucci (MBA '80)

Another grassroots initiative, the 91101 Group, was organized by Daniel F. Curran (MBA '00), a research associate at HBS, along with colleagues and classmates from HBS and the Kennedy School of Government. The group set up a Web site that they will use to raise money to support the long-term educational needs of the children of the victims— particularly those who were uninsured. The site will also help young professionals use their skills to provide services to those affected by the attacks.

Members of Section F in the Class of 1995 gathered donations for the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund. In an e-mail to classmates, they explained, "These men and women moved selflessly into the buildings, and there is no eloquence that properly captures the balance of the lives they saved and the sadness of their own fate." The response was overwhelming; the group collected $61,000 from 106 classmates.

A Message from Dean Clark

On September 14, Dean Clark sent an e-mail to all HBS graduates. "Along with the rest of the world, those of us who work and study at Harvard Business School are devastated by the recent terrorist attacks that have afflicted the United States," he wrote. Clark went on to express condolences to those who had lost loved ones and provide information on how to share news of fellow alumni.

Clark was overwhelmed by the outpouring of personal, heartfelt, informative, and inspiring responses from the School's alumni. Hundreds of letters came in from dozens of countries around the world. Writing from Athens, Greece, Charalambos A. Vlachoutsicos (MBA '54) expressed condolences and added words of encouragement: "We are confident that America's collective resolve and ability will prevail." From Safat, Kuwait, banker AbdulAziz I. Al-Nabhan (68th PMD) also sent support. "In cooperation with the American embassy in Kuwait, we opened a new charity account to receive donations from those who believe in the power of altruism and contribution." Kamran Kashani (DBA '74), from Lausanne, Switzerland, noted that the tragedy "will be remembered as a low point in human history," while Jose Guerra (AMP:ISMP 155) reported from Mexico that the rest of the world sees the United States "as a synonym for freedom and safety" and praised the country's "unity, faith, prayers, and fellowship." Writing from Kathmandu, Nepal, Roop Jyoti (MBA '76) observed, "I have no doubt that [America] will bounce back rapidly from the calamity that has befallen it, on the strength of the moral values and the democratic character of its people."

Nearer to home, many graduates who live in New York offered their perspectives. Having just visited Ground Zero, David ("Bull") Gurfein (MBA '00) said the destruction was "unimaginable" and described the tour he was given by a police officer. "He brought me to tears several times as he recounted stories of what he had personally seen as a first responder," wrote Gurfein, an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve who was recalled recently to active duty. Neil Smith (MBA '84), who lives in nearby Manhasset, wrote, "Unfortunately, it's towns like ours that have been hit very badly by this terrible and senseless act. From commuting professionals to the firefighters and police who make up the fabric of our everyday life here, this horror has taken an enormous toll. My son has only sixteen kids in his pre-K class. Two of them are now fatherless. In one street, just a few blocks away, there are four missing people."

Also in New York, Nan J. Morrison (MBA '87) articulated the importance of finding ways to assist the relief effort as well as the difficulty of not being able to do so. "It is frustrating to be here and realize that with fifteen years of experience, if you cannot operate a backhoe, heal a burn, or counsel someone, you are rather helpless in the immediate sense," she wrote, adding that she was volunteering to aid business recovery efforts. "This tragedy will have far-reaching effects on the New York economy— it is not the 'rich people' as Professor Crum used to call us, it is the people who work in restaurants, drive cabs, and provide services all over their city."

Many who responded praised the strong ties they felt toward HBS. "Once again, the strength of the HBS community has demonstrated itself," wrote Jennifer Josephs (MBA '96). "Within hours of the tragedy, emails from all over the world arrived expressing concern and asking for information. Early on Wednesday, my section had heard from almost everyone, and Steve Abernethy had published a list of individuals who had been contacted. The speed and caring with which this was done was overwhelming." Similarly, Laura Petrucci (MBA '80) reported that her section had accounted for all of its members: "It is a great tribute to the School that a group of people who were last together as a full group more than twenty years ago still cares enough about each other to reach out." John M. Hereford (MBA '95) managed to add a bit of self-deprecating humor during this difficult time by reporting that he had used the HBS Web site to account for all his friends. "It is typical that HBS would end up as the nerve center for helping people through this crisis. Our Type A, overachieving ways do come in handy at times.



As this issue of the Bulletin went to press, the five alumni listed below had been confirmed as casualties of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Their loss has been felt deeply throughout the community, and numerous tributes from classmates appear in this issue's Class Notes. The School also mourns the many friends, colleagues, and family members from the extended HBS community who lost their lives on September 11.

Anthony Demas (39th PMD) of New York City and Madison, Connecticut, was managing director at Aon Corporation, a Chicago-based insurance and risk-management firm with offices in the World Trade Center.

Demas was a graduate of Pratt Institute and served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Before joining Aon, he was a managing director at Marsh & McLennan, where he worked for 31 years. Robert P. Williams, a friend and colleague, called Demas "a natural leader and mentor." At Demas's memorial service, corporate chairmen stood side by side with employees of his neighborhood pharmacy and dry cleaners. Williams also mentioned Demas's devotion to his wife and family: "Tony loved his family more than any man I have ever known. When his boys were christened, he proclaimed it the happiest day of his life."

Demas is survived by his wife, Violetta, and their twin eight-year-old sons, Nicholas and Andrew; his mother, Athanassia Demas; his sister, Eve Zelle; and a large, extended family.

Donations in his memory may be sent to The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, attn. Anthony Demas Memorial Fund, 302 West 91st St., New York, New York 10024.

Steven L. Glick (MBA '89) of Greenwich, Connecticut, was a managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) and headed the e-Client effort at the firm's institutional e-commerce group, CSFBNext. He was attending a conference on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower on the morning of September 11.

Prior to joining CSFB earlier this year, Glick was a senior partner at Greenwich Associates, where he led the global fixed income, foreign exchange, and derivatives consulting practice. He was a graduate of Northwestern University.

Classmates and colleagues held Glick in the highest esteem. Vikram S. Gandhi (MBA '89) called him a "wonderful human being," and Theodore H. Barnett (MBA '89) said he was a "bright, happy, and caring person." François J. Maisonrouge (MBA '85), a colleague at CSFB, noted that Glick was widely respected across his industry and that "he always had a word of encouragement for others."

Glick is survived by his wife, Mari (also MBA '89), and their two young children, Colin and Courtney; his mother, Ester Glick; sisters Ellen and Stefanie; and brothers Gordon and Robert.

Memorial donations may be made to The Greenwich Chapter of the American Red Cross, 231 East Putnam Ave., Greenwich, Connecticut 06830.

Waleed J. Iskandar (MBA '93) of Boston and London was a consultant with the Monitor Group. He was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 on the morning of September 11.

Born in Beirut, Iskandar came to the United States in 1984 and graduated from Stanford University in 1989. He was a Baker Scholar at HBS. At Monitor, he worked extensively in the United States, Korea, and Europe. He established the firm's Istanbul office, helped develop Monitor's Central/ Eastern European and Middle East operations, and recently headed the company's digital strategy unit in Europe.

Classmates remembered Iskandar's intelligence, humor, and easygoing smile; his "amazing" insights on cases; his positive outlook on life; and his many friendships that extended far beyond his section. Sectionmate Steven A. Cahillane noted, "He was impossible to forget . . . one of the really, really good guys."

Iskandar leaves his parents, Joseph and Samia Iskandar; his fiancée, Nicolette Cavaleros; his brother Sany; his sister May Marconet; and six nephews and nieces.

Andrew K. Kates (MBA '91) of New York City was senior managing director at the securities firm Cantor Fitzgerald. He was in his office in the World Trade Center's north tower on the morning of September 11.

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Kates was an accomplished athlete and marathon runner. HBS classmate Richard J. Coppola described him as "warm and funny— the most well-liked person in our section." He was a frequent guest-columnist for his section's notes in the Bulletin. A tribute in Fortune magazine noted that Kates "made everything more fun, more exciting, for those around him." In a Philadelphia Inquirer article, his brother Paul emphasized his devotion to his wife and children. "Everybody he touched, everybody he met— whether it was for three days, three weeks, or three decades— was affected by him," he said.

Kates leaves his wife, Emily Terry, and their three children, Hannah, Lucy, and Henry; his mother, Judith Kates; and brothers Seth and Paul.

Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 7 West 83rd St., New York, New York 10024.

Donald A. Peterson (2nd OPM) of Spring Lake, New Jersey, was the retired president of Continental Electric Company in Newark, New Jersey. He was traveling with his wife, Jean, on United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed near Somerset, Pennsylvania, on September 11.

Peterson received a bachelor's degree from MIT and a master's degree from Rutgers University. He was vice chairman of the board of the Howard Savings Institution, served on the New Jersey Board of Higher Education, and was a director for the Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey. In retirement, Peterson devoted himself to community service and spent much of his time helping those in recovery from drug addiction. Both he and his wife were active church members and had traveled to missions in the West Indies.

The couple are survived by six children: David, Hamilton, and Royster Peterson; and Jennifer, Grace, and Catherine Price. Peterson is also survived by two brothers, Bob and Richard, and a sister, Ellen.

Memorial funds have been established at America's Keswick, 601 Route 530, Whiting, New Jersey 08759 and Helping Hand Pregnancy Care Center, 837 Broad St., Shrewsbury, New Jersey 07702.


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