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Katie Lapp Trapped in Pile of Memories

Executive Vice President Katie Lapp sheds tears of nostalgia.

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- According to a recent email sent out to the students, faculty, and staff, Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President of Harvard University, is currently trapped underneath a pile of memories.

“Dear members of the Harvard community,” reads the email, which was sent over the campus-notify email listserv. “While monitoring the springtime weather in advance of commencement, I suddenly found myself in Tercentenary Theater looking up at the steps of Widener Library, where I recently spent several days inside the walls of the underground tunnel connecting Widener to Pusey Library in a ‘Cask of Amontillado’-type mishap.

“But as I gazed upon the edifice’s imposing columns, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a flood of memories about my time here at Harvard. It was very similar to another instance in which I was overwhelmed by a flock of geese, who swept me away from my office and then held me hostage in a nest of reeds while hissing furiously at me and pecking at the various passersby who attempted to help,” she continued. “But that is beside the point.”

Lapp, who supervises the financial, administrative, human resources, campus services, planning and project management, development in Allston, health services, information technology, and diversity functions of the University, allegedly found that everywhere she looked, she found another memory to remind her of her years on campus. In the Science Center Plaza, she recalled eating lunch with friends from her SLS20 section before becoming entangled in a large umbrella and being carried away on the wind. In Sever, she remembered how she met her first blockmate on a late January morning before becoming stuck in a stairwell accident inspired by an M.C. Escher drawing. 

Nostalgia overwhelmed the Executive Vice President, who was able to successfully send out the email from her phone before her tears short-circuited it.

“We will continue to closely monitor the forecast,” added Lapp in her email. “Should weather conditions warrant schedule changes, we will distribute information through MessageMe and email. Updates will also be posted to the Harvard Emergency page and 866-496-NEWS.” The message was promptly sent again by the FAS Emergency Notification System; by Leslie Kirwan, Dean for Administration and Finance at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and by that journalist from The New York Times who always writes about Harvard for some reason.

Half an hour later, to the surprise of the Harvard community, Lapp seemed to have escaped on her own, without the help of any facilities, security, or animal control staff. To indicate her escape, she promptly composed a second email on a computer in the Science Center basement and sent it out over the campus-notify email listserv.

“I would like to leave you all with a few words of advice as you venture out into the summer haze,” read the second email. “Because, as some of you may know, this past year and a half has been somewhat difficult for me. I have found myself injured and alone on some occasions. I have found myself successively trapped under a snowdrift, a puddle of slush, a pile of mulch, and a pollen tornado, not to mention a heap of cardboard boxes, the Harvard Square public restroom, and a wormhole in the fabric of space-time that is only present on February 29.” 

She went on, “But every time I was knocked down, I got back up. Every time I appeared to be defeated, I rose again, like a phoenix, from the ashes of what to any of us would initially appear to be defeat.

“Katie Lapp would not be caged,” she said. “No. Rather, she would burst through, she would spread her wings. Katie Lapp would fly.

“I’m sure that at times during our years here, many of us have felt defeated. If you’re like me, you might not have been accepted into some organizations, and you had to reevaluate your priorities. You might not have gotten into jazz band, because you weren’t as good at the saxophone as you thought you were. Or you might not have lotteried into Natural Disasters, so you had to take another, more terrible SPU. Or you might not have gotten a place in the cast of Hasty Pudding, because you were a woman.

“My point is that all of us have fallen down at some point. And all of us will have moments in our future when we feel that everything is falling apart, that we are literally trapped underneath a pile of our own troubles. I guarantee that this will happen to each and every one of you across the spectrum of professions, from medical school to management consulting, but mostly in consulting.

“When you’re down and out, ask yourself what Katie Lapp would do. Would she let herself be defeated? Or would she find a way to climb out of the snowdrift, the mountain of leaves, or the pile of mulch? I think you know the answer. She would persevere. Katie Lapp would survive and return to fight another day, even when it seems that the universe is stacked against her.

“I would like to leave you with a final bit of advice,” she concluded before sending out the email to the entire Harvard community. “Are you trapped underneath a pile of your own doubts, waiting for a wandering person with a snow blower to uncover the real you? You have the snowblower. Uncover yourself. What is your Allston Campus Expansion that you have to manage? What is your MessageMe that you must harness to communicate your ideas- nay, your dreams- to the outside world?”

“I urge each of you to reflect and find the Executive Vice President within your hearts. And with that, my friends, I bid you adieu for now.”


© 2016