James Harden, a health-care executive who is among Columbia’s most active alumni, was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees this fall.
Harden ’78BUS, ’83PH has chaired the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) since 2007, during which time the nascent CAA has brought together graduates from across the University for special events, symposia, and concerts and offered alumni many new services. Harden also is the current chair of the Mailman School of Public Health’s Board of Overseers and is the former president of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York. A generous donor, he received Columbia’s Alumni Medal, which recognizes distinguished service of 10 years or more, in 2000.
“I consider myself very privileged to have attended Columbia,” says Harden. “Shortly after I graduated, I became involved in alumni activities, and as one’s career progresses and you become more experienced and you have more resources, your engagement tends to grow. I’ve never said no to Columbia, and when I was asked to serve as a trustee, I was very happy to say yes.”
Harden is the president of Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which is composed of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a regional home-care and hospice network, and an agency for special-needs patients.
At the Mailman School, Harden established the Public Health Scholars Fund, an endowment to provide graduate and doctoral students with tuition support. He has served on both the University’s Alumni Trustee Nominating Committee (ATNC) and on the Trustee Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing.
Harden was nominated to the Board of Trustees by the ATNC, which is made up of alumni representatives from each of Columbia’s schools. The ATNC works closely with the board’s own Trustee Nominating Committee to identify alumni leaders who might one day serve on the board. At the same time, it gives alumni a direct say in who helps govern the University. Six of Columbia’s 24 trustees were nominated through this process.