Claudine Gay Named Harvard’s First Black – and Second Female – President
Harvard University announced on Thursday that its new president would be Claudine Gay, the dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She will be the first Black leader of Harvard, and the second woman to hold the position, succeeding Lawrence S. Bacow.
Dr. Gay will take office in July 2023, just as the university faces a pivotal Supreme Court decision that may force it to revise its longstanding admissions processes, which have been criticized for considering factors that favor white and wealthy candidates while also using affirmative action to bolster enrollment by Black and Hispanic students.
As a proponent of increased diversity in hiring, as well as an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, Dr. Gay may be ideally suited to the task, supporters said.
“Claudine is a remarkable leader who is profoundly devoted to sustaining and enhancing Harvard’s academic excellence,” said Penny Pritzker, the chair of the presidential search committee.
Harvard made “academic history” with the announcement, said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the director of Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.
“This is a victory for diversity and excellence,” he said in an email.
“Claudine has proven herself a first-class academic leader as well as a rigorous scholar in her own right,” Dr. Gates added. “And under her leadership, Harvard will continue to be a model in upholding the highest standards of academic excellence, advancing the frontiers of knowledge while also advancing strategies of inclusion.”