Allston neighbors come together at the Harvard Ed Portal for a memorial celebration

A diverse crowd, consisting of former colleagues, staff, Harvard alumni, and members of the Allston community, convened at the Harvard Ed Portal for a memorial celebration honoring the life and legacy of founder Rob Lue. During the event, a memorial plaque was unveiled, commemorating Lue’s instrumental role in establishing and advancing the Ed Portal.

Rob Lue, who passed away from cancer in November 2020, held numerous significant leadership positions at Harvard University.

These included being a professor of the practice in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the founding faculty director of HarvardX, the faculty director of the Harvard Ed Portal, the faculty director of the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and the faculty director and principal investigator of LabXchange.

Throughout the evening, attendees acknowledged Lue’s numerous accomplishments.

However, his true legacy was repeatedly emphasized as being his reputation as an exceptional teacher, his contagious enthusiasm, his ability to foster community, and his selfless dedication to spending time and providing attention to others.

Mary Helen Black, a former staff member of the Ed Portal and a member of the Allston community, expressed her admiration for Rob Lue, stating, “He infused his vision and dedication into our community, bringing people together.

Speaking on behalf of the neighborhood, I can confidently say that he truly brought the finest aspects of Harvard to Allston.”

In his role as the inaugural faculty director of the Ed Portal, Lue established a mentoring program that paired Harvard undergraduates with K-12 students residing in the nearby Allston community.

Over the course of more than a decade since its inception, the mentoring program has experienced ongoing growth. Susan Johnson, the Assistant Director of Socially Engaged Learning at the Ed Portal and the current program manager, highlighted this expansion, stating, “The undergraduate community at the Ed Portal has significantly expanded. When I first started, we had around 15 or 16 students.

However, this past semester, we had 36 students, with half of them identifying as first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students. I believe Rob Lue would have been overjoyed to hear about this.”

In a video tribute, former mentor Jennifer Tu ’16 reflected on Rob Lue’s remarkable talent for understanding people’s perspectives and effectively communicating with them, inspiring them to think innovatively and explore new possibilities.

Ryan Batter ’13 acknowledged Rob Lue’s contagious enthusiasm for learning and his dedication to helping others comprehend the world. Lue’s exceptional skill in building a sense of community and making the Ed Portal an inclusive space, where both mentors and students felt a true sense of belonging, was highlighted by Batter.

President Bacow described Rob Lue as an extraordinary individual, referring to him as a singular presence. Bacow expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have known and collaborated with Lue, emphasizing that all those who had the privilege of crossing paths with him were undoubtedly enriched by the experience.



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By Ryan

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