Achievement at Harvard Business School takes many forms, both inside and outside the classroom. Each year the Dean’s Award recognizes individuals whose daily lives and actions embody and further define the School’s most important ideals. Five members of the Class of 2003 were honored by Dean Kim B. Clark for their outstanding contributions to the HBS community over the last two years; they include Father Thomas P. Doyle, C.S.C., Moon K. Lee, Brandt B. Pyles, Douglas K. Schillinger, and Matthew J. Turner.
Father Tom Doyle: Unflagging in service
“Father Tom” first became known to the wider HBS community when he organized a nondenominational memorial service outside the Class of 1959 chapel on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. Two weeks later, when his Section D classmate (and fellow Dean’s Award winner) Doug Schillinger was diagnosed with cancer, he organized another service, but this time stayed in the background while sectionmates offered prayers and songs in languages from Hindi to Hebrew.
In a sheath of letters nominating Doyle for the Dean’s Award, students and faculty alike called him “unflagging” in his commitment to helping the people around him, pointing out that his acts of service ranged from counseling classmates to revitalizing the HBS Catholic community through his popular Sunday Masses. And his nominators also noted how he enriched the learning experience of classmates through his willingness to ask questions and share his wisdom about the impact of human nature on business decisions.
A classmate told the story of how their section had presented Doyle – a former Notre Dame football walk-on player – with a helmet that each of them had signed, adding in his nomination letter, “This unique act of a section unanimously purchasing and personalizing a gift to one of its own students is evidence of Tom’s special stature in the community.”
Says Doyle, “The signatures on this helmet are more dear to me than Notre Dame’s seven Heismann Trophy winners put together!”
Moon Lee and Brandt Pyles: Mentoring high school students
Shortly after Moon Lee arrived at HBS, he decided to use the skills he was learning at the School to help underprivileged high school kids – a group that no HBS student outreach program had targeted. Along with Ore Owodunni, MBA ’02, Lee started a Junior Achievement program, which pairs business professionals with students in grades K-12 nationally, at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) – the only public high school in Cambridge and a 15-minute walk from HBS. After volunteering with the program during its first semester, Brandt Pyles joined Moon Lee in leading Junior Achievement at CRLS, undertaking tasks that ranged from writing a new curriculum in the format of HBS cases to changing the format from an after-school program to one that is woven into a student’s day.
In its first two years, the program has grown from an initial 25 students to 70 students each semester, and now involves more than 60 HBS volunteers. Last fall, in a statewide Junior Achievement competition, half of the 28 semi-finalist teams were from CRLS. Thanks to Lee’s and Pyles’s leadership, some 30 to 40 percent of all high school students involved in Junior Achievement statewide now hail from this Cambridge high school.
A turning point for Deb Socia, the dean of CRLS, came when a student who had opted for Junior Achievement in lieu of detention last year placed second in a school-wide competition in which students used computer simulations to create successful companies. According to Socia, this student carried his trophy around with him for an entire week. “The kids say that they know someone at Harvard, that they know something about business,” added Socia. “What Moon Lee and Brandt Pyles have done here at CRLS will impact kids for a lot of years to come.”
Doug Schillinger: Achieving in the face of cancer
When Doug Schillinger was diagnosed with melanoma just weeks after beginning his studies at the School, a fellow student asked him why he didn’t take a leave of absence. “He replied emphatically, ‘There is no place I would rather be right now than HBS,'” recalled the student in his nomination letter. “For the last two years, Doug has lived and modeled strength and humility for his classmates.”
Schillinger underwent several surgeries and a regimen of chemotherapy during his first 16 months at HBS. But not only did he earn first-year honors, he also inspired faculty with his dedication to his work. Reflected one professor, “Whenever I had the temptation to stop preparing for the next class, I thought of Doug and went that extra mile. Whenever I was teaching and saw him in class, I realized I had no excuse not to be over-prepared.”
For his part, Schillinger credits the HBS community for everything good that has come his way – including the Dean’s Award. “My selection for this award is the product of the love and support I received from my section and my faculty during the course of treatment. It’s not my award; it is our award.”
Matt Turner: Leading at every turn
The youngest of 10 children, Matt Turner was the first person in his family both to graduate from college – he went to MIT – and to become a military officer. After five years as a captain in the U.S. Air Force in Europe and the Middle East, Turner came to HBS in the fall of 2001 and quickly immersed himself into the community. He became his section’s president, a cofounder of the Section Olympics, co-president of the Entrepreneurship Club, and community service chairperson of the African-American Student Union (AASU).
Turner took his leadership positions very seriously, said a classmate in her nomination letter. As president of Section C, he sought to build a strong sense of community through encouraging 100 percent participation at important section events, a “policy” that fostered relationship building between students of diverse backgrounds. Along with co-presidents Marti Speranza and Malay Kundu, he helped the Entrepreneurship Club move from virtual inactivity to hosting several activities a week. And despite a full plate, Turner used his position as AASU community service chair – a job usually held by two people – to help AASU expand its outreach to inner-city high school students in the Boston area. (For instance, under Turner’s guidance, AASU offered college scholarships to two Boston high school students and brought youths from local Boys and Girls clubs to the HBS campus for workshops on college preparation and entrepreneurship – using a case study in the latter session that highlighted two successful rap producers.) “What is truly extraordinary about Matt Turner is his commitment of himself, on a personal level, to making the HBS community a better place,” stated this student nominator.
His nominators for the Dean’s Award also pointed to Turner’s powerful response to a racial profiling incident in which he was a victim earlier this year. As The Harbus reported in its Feb. 24 issue, Turner was detained and held in handcuffs for nearly an hour by Dallas police over Dr. Martin Luther King Day weekend while attending a conference. In an effort to hold the Dallas Police accountable while creating more awareness among the broader society, he responded to the Dallas Police Department’s mistaken identity claim in a measured, methodical manner – from granting interviews to the national media to penning “Ten Things to Remember When You Suspect You’ve Been Racially Profiled.”
Reflected a senior HBS administrator: “The courage Matt demonstrated in deciding to tackle this scary incident head-on, rather than letting it disappear, exemplifies the kind of leadership we’re trying to teach here at Harvard Business School.”