On November 10, 2019, Margaret “Midge” Purce made her debut with the U.S. Women’s National Team, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in the USA’s 6-0 win over Costa Rica to close out the calendar year. That was just one impressive beginning for the defender from Silver Springs, Md., as that same month Purce publicly announced her campaign for a seat on the Harvard Board of Overseers, the University’s highest democratically-elected governing body.
The Board of Overseers works in conjunction with the President and Fellows of Harvard College to shape the University’s priorities and strategy. Comprised of 30 elected members, five Overseers are elected each year to serve a six-year term.
Purce graduated from Harvard in 2017 and had an unquestioned influence on the soccer field during her four years in Cambridge, collecting All-America honors and twice being named the Ivy League Player of the Year. But after graduating, Purce felt compelled to try and impact her alma mater on a larger scale.
“I had a really great experience at Harvard and I want to make sure that future students have an even better experience than I did,” Purce said. “I want to serve my fellow alumni, the students, and Harvard as a whole so that it can operate more effectively and efficiently. If you looked at the Board right now, there’s no one that represents my entire generation and I can bring that perspective. I know what it’s like to go to Harvard in these times and I know what it’s like to graduate from Harvard in these times. I think that experience and that understanding is crucial to effective governance.”
After completing an extensive petition process that required thousands of signatures from Harvard alumni around the world, Purce began her run for the Board of Overseers, campaigning on the Harvard Forward platform of climate leadership and inclusive governance. The election, which are open to all Harvard alumni, started on July 1 and voting will come to a close on August 18.
While awaiting the outcome, Purce discussed the experience with former USWNT defender and Olympic silver medalist Danielle Slaton. The two also discussed the recent NWSL Challenge Cup where Purce helped her new club Sky Blue FC to a spot in the semifinals, athletes speaking out on social issues, and the role soccer has played in their own development on and off the field.
The full conversation can be seen and heard below. For more information on Harvard Forward and the Harvard Board of Overseers, visit www.HarvardForward.org.