On the Wall

Among its libraries, office buildings, and dining halls, Harvard hangs 750 oil portraits of illustrious university citizens. Of those, 690 depict white men and only 2 are of minorities.

According to a Boston Globe report, Harvard is now devoting funds to adding images of women and minorities. The move signals to current students and faculty that diversity is not a fad but an essential part of the institution’s history.

Boston University’s School of Medicine also celebrates its forefathers with a wall of portraits near the main entrance:

Portraits 013

It’s an imposing line-up that effectively conveys the longevity of the school. But it also paints a limited picture of the inclusive history of our campus. If there are images of the first Native American MD or the first African-American woman physician, they are not prominent. Celebrating our past visually makes everyone here today feel welcome.


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