Harvard University Appoints its First Black President 

Claudine Gay

Harvard University announced Thursday that Claudine Gay has been selected as the institution’s 30th president. 

Gay, who has been dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 2018, is only the second woman and first Black person to hold the position of the university president.

Gay, a graduate of Stanford who is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, went on to receive a Ph.D. in government from Harvard in 1998, where she won the Toppan Prize for the best political science dissertation, according to the Harvard Gazette.

The Harvard Corporation, the main governing body of the university, chose Gay to be its new president. Lawrence S. Bacow, the current president of Harvard who announced his resignation in June after five years in office, would be succeeded by her. Since Harvard’s founding in 1636, Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian, was his immediate predecessor. She was the institution’s first female president.

“As a woman of color, as a daughter of immigrants, if my presence in this role affirms someone’s sense of belonging at Harvard, that is a great honor,” Gay said in an online video posted by the university. 

For those who are beyond our gates, if this prompts them to look a new at Harvard, to consider new possibilities for themselves and their futures, then my appointment will have meaning for me that goes beyond words.”

Following Bacow’s retirement announcement, a thorough search for a new president began. Her election as president brings it to an end.

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