June 19, 2003
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to tell you about my experiences with Billy Duarte, the long-time security guard at
Mather House, Harvard College. I got to know Billy initially while I was serving as a resident
tutor in Mather House for two years. We have stayed in touch since then, as I return from time
to time in my capacity as a member of the Mather Senior Common Room. Billy Duarte is an
extraordinary person. He is enormously dedicated to Mather House and to Harvard College.
He is a wonderful asset to our community.
Billy Duarte stands out primarily because cares about students, tutors and faculty in the Mather
House community. Billy gets to know an amazing number of people by name. It is a
commonplace on a pleasant evening to see Billy sitting outside the Superintendent's Office with
a group of students hanging out with him. He eats in the dining hall, walks the floors of the
building, and goes in and out of his office with regularity. He always seems to be around. Billy
always has a joke or a kind word. Billy has a quick smile, a great laugh and an infectious,
positive energy. He is beloved by many who have spent time in Mather over the past several
years. People talk about him even after they leave, remembering Billy as a very positive part of
their residential experience.
Billy's contributions to house life are often out of the ordinary and even on his own time. I will
always remember the summer cook-out that Billy and I organized for tutors and students who
had stayed local to Mather House In the courtyard a few Augusts ago. Bi11y and I talked every
night for weeks about the steak tips he planned to bring, the marinade he had prepared and
how much fun we were going to have. The cook-out was a terrific, relaxed time, just what the
residential university experience should be like. Billy was true to his word: a masterful hand at
the grill, all decked out with his apron and tongs. His steak tips, perhaps needless to say, won
Billy is a very perceptive guard. He knows when residents come and go from the house. When
your routine changes, he notices and mentions it to you. Billy is always there when a loud noise
rings out or a party grows too loud. He has a persuasive manner, but he does not bully the
students unnecessarily. He looks out for the Mather residents. Billy gives people who live in
Mather a positive sense of security when he is on the job.
Billy Duarte is one of the best staff members I've encountered at Harvard. He loves his job,
cares about the students, and makes a difference to people every day. I do not know the
precise details about the decision that the university has to make related to the provision of
security guard services. I recognize that the Deans and the House Masters need to have
flexibility in their decision-making. But I believe that it would be terribly short-sighted to put at
risk Billy Duarte's job as a security guard. He is a part of what makes this university great, and
he should be honored for it.
I would be pleased to speak further about this matter should you have any questions.
John G. P., Jr.
Harvard College, AB. 1994 (Mather undergraduate)
Harvard Law School, J.D. 2001 (Mather resident tutor)
Mather House Senior Common Room, 2001- present