Hall of Fame

Joseph Harvey

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Joseph was a member of the first varsity heavyweight crew in 1989. The crews from 1987 to 1989 certainly rank among the best Harvard has ever seen and they proved that by enjoying considerable success in many major competitions at home and overseas. They were the dominant crews of those years despite some very strong competition form both traditional intercollegiate rivals and outstanding international crews. Also notable are their convincing victories over Yale in the annual Harvard-Yale four mile race. The 1987 crew enjoyed a particularly long and successful season. The crew started with a resounding victory over west coast power Washington, then continued through a dramatic victory over a powerful Brown crew in the National Championships in Cincinnati. The season finished with outstanding races at the Victoria Boatrace in Victoria, BC, the Henley Regatta in England, and the World University Games in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. The 1988 crew was equally successful and ended their season with victories at Worcester in the EARC Sprint Championships, over Yale in New London and in the National Championships at Cincinnati. In 1989, the crew repeated as both EARC Sprint and National Champions and went on to row an historic race in the finals of the Ladies Plate competition at the Henley Royal Regatta. In addition to their collective success in both intercollegiate and international competition, several members of the crews went on to significant international success as members of various U.S. Olympic and World Championship crews. They continue to maintain strong connections to Harvard and U.S. national rowing programs.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

As I begin to write this piece, the Harvard Heavyweights are contesting the 2006 Adams Cup with Penn and Navy. Waiting for the results to be posted online, my mind stretches back to the same weekend of our senior year. We were gathered in the shop bay for a final boat meeting the night before the 1989 Adams Cup—a showdown to which we’d been looking forward for some time. (In particular, the varsity had not won that particular regatta in the past three years. I remember being a little shocked as a frosh to see the Penn guys walking around with the varsity’s shirts after the race; it was the first time I had ever seen a Harvard crew lose.) Harry was telling us that he did not have room in his launch for all of the parents who would be attending, and my attention was straying because I knew my family was back home in Illinois. The list of people Harry named, however, included my dad—shocking me back into sharp focus. It turned out that he had driven the 900 miles to Cambridge straight through to be there in time for the racing. The next morning he would witness one of the races I will always remember: Harvard passing Penn in the last ten strokes to bring the Adams Cup back home to Newell. As an English teacher I am always pushing my students to find the significance in what they read—to look for passages that resonate and to use those places as starting points from which to delve more deeply into a text. And so I think about our four years together rowing at Harvard in the same way—what parts of that experience resonated within me then—and what continues to do so today? Part of the story will always be my relationship with my dad. Neither of my parents had gone to college, and they were proud to have me at Harvard. Calling home during freshman year, I began to talk less and less about my courses and more and more about crew, which nobody in my family ever had seen before. “We didn’t send you to Harvard to row,” my mom told me over the phone one day that first fall, tacitly reminding me of the significant sacrifices that my parents were making to have me there. However, both my mom and dad began to understand what rowing meant to me, and they made many trips from our home in Illinois to see races and meet my friends from the boathouse. It was my dad, a serious athlete himself and someone who knew firsthand the work involved, who was the “early adopter.” He was also a person who loved to travel and to get to know people; humble yet secure in himself, he sought out those connections on his trips to Cambridge. His friendships with other parents and with Everett Abbott, our boatman and a fellow veteran, meant a lot to him. My dad passed away in 1992 after a long fight with lung cancer, and I will always feel lucky and graced to have had him be such a constant presence through my time at Harvard—and particularly at Newell. Just as crew became something special to share with my family, it also offered a connection with teammates that was important to me at the time and that has only become more meaningful as years have passed. They are powerful bonds, forged in the heat of an experience that challenged each of us to become not only stronger and tougher individually, but also completely part of a team, and a crew. The relationships were not always free of tension, but they were full of depth, learning, and growth. Being in the company of this exceptional group of people was an extraordinary gift, one for which I will always be grateful. Of course none of this would have happened without the rowing itself—and when I say rowing, I mean racing. Any oarsman—certainly any Harvard oarsman—will tell you that the two are inextricably linked. Fall or winter or spring, Friday races or seat races, basin shots or Anderson to North Beacon, we were always competing. Derived from the Latin competere, “to strive together,” the word competition describes exactly what Harvard crew embodies: striving together to make ourselves and our crews fitter and tougher and faster. One of the things we talked about then was how, by the time we got to the starting line against other crews, we had already faced our toughest rivals in practice. I believe we had it right. And it was easy to find inspiration all around us—not only in the rich history of past crews or the picture of the Rude and Smooth that still greets Harvard rowers inside the Newell doors, but also in the form of our teammates getting better each day. It created in the boathouse an environment in which each person contributed to the upward spiral of performance that in turn fueled even more growth. High expectations were accompanied by high-level performances: we learned that the two go hand in hand. To this day, when I have something difficult to do, I always think of rowing and the lessons I learned at Newell. I have many people to thank:
• Thank you to my mom and dad and my brother and sisters. Every summer as an undergraduate I returned to Illinois to work and be with my family. I don’t know how many late dinners my mom cooked as I got home from long bike rides after work, but I do know that each one revealed how much she loves me.
• Thank you to my wife, Amanda, and Jed, our three-year-old son. You are so wonderful—and great friends and playmates—and I love you.
• Thank you to Harry Parker, whose example continues to resonate in my daily life. As much respect as I had for Harry when I was rowing for Harvard, it has only grown over the years.
• Thank you to all my teammates. I feel very lucky to have been a part of Harvard Crew, and to have you in my life.
• Finally, thank you to the Harvard Varsity Club for this honor. I feel humbled to be among the group being inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, and among those who have preceded us as well. Walking through the doors of the boathouse for the first time back in September 1985, I certainly never expected what would follow.