A “words and ideas” person now building a future for Harvard in Allston

Peggy Hayes ’83

Peggy Hayes says “I don’t think I have followed a conventional path for an English major, but I have been considered, in some form or another, a ‘words and ideas’ person throughout my career.” Hers is a career that has thus far taken her to “the fields of politics, public affairs, public relations and communications.” Right after Vassar, she worked on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator from her home state of Minnesota, tasked with communicating with constituents, tracking legislation, and writing floor statements, letters, and policy briefings for the senator. Then, for the next 13 years in New York, Peggy represented clients in financial services, consumer goods, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in large public relations firms where she “came to specialize in making complex scientific information accessible to lay audiences.” After business and legislative branch work, her latest move has been into higher education. After managing public relations for Tufts University’s Health Sciences campus in Boston comprising the medical school, dental school, nutrition school and a variety of research programs, she is now communications director for Harvard University’s Allston Initiative—the proposed 50-year, 200-acre campus expansion in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. Her job combines strands of experience in politics, community relations, and communications strategy into a fabric of words and ideas. “I write every day,” Peggy says, “and bless the rigor of my English department professors.”