Managing Partner

Jonathan Fortescue

Jonathan Fortescue is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Park Square Executive Search.

He conducts leadership searches for clients who create knowledge or shape the world, including research universities, liberal arts colleges, venture-backed companies, and not-for-profit organizations. Previously, he was a Managing Director in the Higher Education and Healthcare practices at J. Robert Scott, a global retained executive search firm.

Prior to his career in executive search, Jonathan taught at Harvard for eleven years, first in the English department, where he was a perennial recipient of Derek Bok Distinguished Teaching Awards, and then in History and Literature where he won the Alan Heimert Teaching Prize. A scholar of American literature and culture, he wrote the introductions to and the literary chronologies for three of the eight volumes of the Cambridge History of American Literature. He graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with degrees in English and in Linguistics. A recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University.

Jonathan continues to read for pleasure and edification. He likes to cook, garden, sail, and ski. A former competitive Master’s runner with personal best marathon and half-marathon times of 2:39:24 and 1:12:11 respectively, he has recently returned to road cycling as the preferred means to induce endorphins. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts with his son, William.

It was Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable that started me down the path of my recent reading. And why not? California is burning. The calving of ice sheets off Antarctica is accelerating. Lethal, prolonged wet-bulb temperatures above 95°F, beyond which the human body’s natural mechanisms for cooling itself fail, are becoming common across large swaths of equatorial Earth. The crisis is underway.

 

Ghosh is a writer who says in a thousand elegant words what more concise writers might say in a few hundred but his argument—ranging across the history of the form of the novel, capitalism, geology, hydrocarbons, the maritime economy, the growth of the city, and consumer culture—has teeth and cuts down to two major derangements of the Anthropocene: (1) Art and particularly what has counted as high literature in the Western literary canon has failed to illustrate or find ways to illustrate the reality and pending disasters of climate change.  You can find examples in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and Gothic but these have long been treated as “generic outhouses” outside the “mansion of serious fiction.” (2) More starkly unnerving, Ghosh writes: “For the results are counterintuitive and they contradict all the tenets on which our lives, thoughts, and actions have been based for almost a century. What we have learned from this experiment is that the patterns of life that modernity engenders can only be practiced by a small minority of the world’s population….Every family in the world cannot have two cars, a washing machine, and a refrigerator—not because of technical or economic limitations but because humanity would asphyxiate itself in the process.”

 

I have summarized The Great Derangement maybe to save you from reading it. It inspired me to brush up on Climate Change but it would not be where I would recommend you start. Instead, you might begin with one of the most clear-headed and indefatigable of prophets, Bill McKibben. McKibben has been writing and updating the same book over and over for the past three decades. He came to renown with The End of Nature and has kept at it for 17 other volumes. His most recent, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out, despite its cloying title, is the single best summary that I have read of the coming apocalypse of the Anthropocene, including not just our changing climate but also the world’s structural inequalities, the largely unregulated, emerging technologies of genetic editing, and our perilously threatened democracies. You may not want to operate heavy machinery after reading it, which is why perhaps he nobly (bravely?) concludes the book with a hopeful coda.

 

Ghosh explains that the rise of Asia, and the bringing of nearly 3 billion additional people into modernity, has accelerated climate change well in advance of the best scientific models. Would it be worth raising the Earth’s temperature a few degrees to lift half the world’s population out of poverty? One way to wrestle with that question yourself is to read Katherine Boo’s remarkable, brutal behind the beautiful forevers. A closely investigated report on the denizens of Annawandi, a makeshift settlement pressed up against the luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, Boo’s book introduces us to a world in which garbage sorting and scrap-metal thieving are professional occupations and where, despite crushing poverty and deprivation, human beings preserve their dignity and belief in a better tomorrow. Writing more than a story of how the other half lives (or, say, 75% of the world), she layers in a legal proceeding against one of her primary subjects, falsely accused of a horrific crime. The book is superbly written, hard to put down, and hard to read.

 

The Overstory by Richard Powers may well be a singular exception to Ghosh’s claim that the novel, as it has evolved as a form focused on individual psychology and social manners, resists the representation of the environmental catastrophe going on all around us. The cast of human characters is Dickensian in breadth but the narrative breakthrough comes from his drawing upon recent science that has begun to suggest that trees possess a kind of sentience. Through the clear-cutting of an old growth forest, Powers is able to portray the tragedy of the commons in scenes as devastating as the Quarto version of King Lear as “most of the globe…[is] converted to row crops for the care and feeding of a single species.”

 

Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us is a work of speculative non-fiction describing the earth as it was before human beings emerged as the dominant species and what it will look like after we (mostly) disappear. Billed on its cover as a “page-turning tour of a post human earth,” it is exactly that with the added virtue that you can dive in almost anywhere to glean handfuls of fun-filled facts about the traces of our existence that will last and how few and for how long. It will take only twenty years for the land surrounding the Panama Canal to revert to an isthmus but the visage of Teddy Roosevelt who signed into action the building of the canal won’t crumble off Mount Rushmore for another 7.2 million years.

 

This Blessed Earth by Ted Genoways tells the story of his year embedded on a American family farm in Nebraska. He introduces us to three generations of the Hammond family, all well meaning people, who face endless decisions that seem to only squeeze them further into a tight corner. They cannot imagine leaving their farm but they also doubt it will survive the increasing weather volatility, the draining out of the Ogallala Aquifer, and the wholesale degradation of the soil. Most eye opening is the history of modern farming that Genoways sews into narrative showing how long the U. S. Department of Agriculture has perniciously driven the nation toward industrialized farming to serve political ends at the expense of the environment.

 

The idealized image of the yeoman farmer may soon not exist in any American’s living memory as autonomous tractors and drones take over the work of tending those row crops for the care and feeding of a single species. Mike Madison’s Fruitful Labor eloquently details his own effort to turn back the clock. If you ever fantasized about quitting your job and going back to the land to subsist in a simpler life, you will find no better cautionary tale than Madison’s own ecology, economy, and practices of his small-scale family farm in California. More practical than Thoreau, and situated in a world that Crèvecoeur wouldn’t recognize, Madison still carries on in their tradition of providing us a philosophy as well as an instruction manual for sustainable agriculture in our era.

Academic Leadership

Arizona State University

Dean, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Boston University

Dean, School of Law

Colorado State University

Senior Director, CSU Online

DePaul University

Dean, School of Music

Emory University

Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Vice Provost, Academic Initiatives

Georgia Tech

Dean, College of Architecture

Harvard University

Dean, Continuing Education
Executive Director, Center for Computational Biomedicine, Harvard Medical School

Johns Hopkins University

Dean, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences

Dean, Peabody Institute

Dean, School of Education

Associate Dean, Graduate and Professional Programs, Advanced Academic Programs

Senior Director, Online Programs, Center for Talented Youth

Massachusetts College of Art & Design

Provost

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences

Dean, School of Dental Hygiene Dean, School of Nursing

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Director, MIT Media Lab

Muhlenberg College

President

New York Public Library

Executive Director for the Library of Performing Arts

New York University

Dean, Silver School of Social Work
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Director, NYU Center for Data Science

Ohio State University

Director, Translational Data Analytics Institute (TDAI)

Oregon Health and Science University

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Director, Early Detection Research

Rice University

Provost

Dean, Brown School of Engineering

Dean, School of Architecture

Dean, Social Sciences

Rider University

Dean, Westminster College of the Arts

San Francisco Conservatory

President

UMass Chan Medical School

Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology

University of Chicago

Dean, Graham School of Continuing Education

University of Cincinnati

Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs

Dean, College of Medicine and VP Health Affairs

Dean, College-Conservatory of Music

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Dean, College of Law

University of Michigan

Chancellor, University of Michigan, Dearborn

Chancellor, University of Michigan, Flint

Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs

Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Dean, School of Social Work

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Director, Integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at MMI

Director, Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation

University of Pennsylvania

Dean, School of Social Policy and Practice

University of Rochester

Dean, Arts, Sciences & Engineering

Dean, Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Director, Goergen Institute for Data Science

University of Washington

Dean, College of Architecture & Urban Planning

Washington University in St. Louis

Dean, Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Dean, George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Director, College and Graduate School of Art

Wellesley College

Associate Provost & Director, Strategic Growth Initiatives

Wilkes University

President

Yale University

Chief of Internal Medicine and Acute Care

Administration, Finance, and Advancement

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Chief Operating Officer

Berklee College of Music

Senior Vice President

Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Administration

Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Chief Marketing Officer, Berklee Music

Vice President, Finance

Colby College

Vice President, College & Student Advancement

Vice President and Dean, Admissions & Financial Aid

Harvard University

Dean, Administration & Finance (Harvard College)

Senior Associate Dean & Director, Development (FAS)

Johns Hopkins University

Associate Dean for Enrollment & Student Affairs, Peabody Institute

Associate Dean for External Affairs, Peabody External Affairs

Associate Dean for Finance & Administration, Peabody Institute

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chief Operating Officer, Sloan School of Management

RA Capital Management

Director, TechAtlas Business Analytics and External Innovation

University of Chicago

Vice President, Communications

Associate Vice President, Federal Relations

University of Cincinnati

General Counsel and VP, Legal Affairs

President, University of Cincinnati Foundation

President, University of Cincinnati Research Institute

Vice Provost, International

University of Rochester

Chief Data Officer

Arts, Design, and Music Leadership

Arizona State University

Dean, Herberger College of Fine Arts
Director, School of Art
Director, School of Music

Berklee College of Music

Chief Financial Officer
Chief Marketing Officer, Berklee Music
Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement

DePaul University

Dean, School of Music

Georgia Institute of Technology

Dean, School of Architecture

Johns Hopkins University

Dean, Peabody Institute
Senior Associated Dean, Faculty Affairs
Associate Dean, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs

Massachusetts College of Art & Design

Provost

Rice University

Dean, School of Architecture

Rider University

Dean, Westminster College of the Arts

San Francisco Conservatory

President

Scottsdale Cultural Council

Chief Executive Officer

Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Co-Chief Executive Officer

Director of Global Marketing

University of Cincinnati

Dean, College-Conservatory of Music

Libraries and Academic Presses

Boston Athenaeum

Director

Emory University

Vice Provost & Director of Libraries

Linda Hall Library

Associate Vice President, Collections
Senior Vice President, Public Engagement
Vice President, Access and Digital Services
Vice President, Research & Scholarship

New York Public Library

Chief Branch Library Officer
Director, BookOps
Executive Director for the Library of Performing Arts

OCLC

Executive Director, OCLC Research Library Partnership

Southern Methodist University

Dean of SMU Libraries

University of California, San Diego

Geisel University Librarian

University of Chicago

Director, University of Chicago Press

University of Cincinnati

Dean & University Librarian

University of Michigan

Director, University of Michigan Press

University of Pennsylvania

Vice Provost & Director of Libraries

Washington University in St. Louis

Vice Provost and University Librarian

Not-For-Profit Leadership

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Chief Operating Officer

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

President

Boston Athenaeum

Director

Educational Testing Service

Director, Multistate Assessment Programs
Senior Research Director, Understanding Teaching Quality
Vice President, Research

Scripps Research Institute

Vice President, Operations and Academic Affairs
Chief Medical Officer

The Water Institute of the Gulf

President and Chief Executive Officer

Wenner-Gren Foundation

President

Scottsdale Cultural Council

Chief Executive Officer

Research, Research Administration, and Tech Transfer

Brandeis University

Associate Provost for Innovation

Columbia University

Chief Radiation Safety Officer
Executive Director, Clinical Trials Office
Executive Director, Sponsored Projects Administration

Dartmouth College

Executive Director, Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer

Harvard University

Chief Scientific Officer, Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator
Director of Business Development, Office of Technology Development
Director of Business Development, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Executive Director, Center for Computational Biomedicine, Harvard Medical School

Michigan Biotechnology Institute (Michigan State)

Senior Vice President, Business Development & Commercialization

Oregon Health & Science University

Vice President, Tech Transfer & Business Development
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Director, Early Detection Research

Pennington Biomedical Research Center (LSU)

Chief Business Development Officer

University of Chicago

Chief Marketing Officer, Office of Technology and Intellectual Property
Deputy Director, Office of Technology and Intellectual Property

University of Cincinnati

President, University of Cincinnati Research Foundation

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Development

University of Michigan

Executive Director, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Science
Executive Director, Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute

University of Pittsburgh

Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Washington University in St. Louis

Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Student Life and Athletics

Colorado College

Athletic Director

Colby College

Vice President for College & Student Advancement
Vice President and Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid

Johns Hopkins University

Associate Dean for Enrollment & Student Affairs, Peabody Institute

Harvard University

Dean, Student Life

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dean, Student Life
Head, Department of Athletics, PE, and Recreation

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