Harvard Picks First Female President

By Christine Cupaiuolo — February 9, 2007

“Harvard University is planning to name the first woman president in its 371-year history — Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian who runs a research institute at the university, according to university officials close to selection process,” reports The New York Times, which is sourcing the Harvard Crimson. Sara Rimer and Alan Finder write:

Dr. Faust’s ascension would come a year after Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary, resigned from the post amid fierce faculty discontent. The opposition erupted in part over Dr. Summers suggestion that intrinsic aptitude could help explain why fewer women than men reach the highest ranks of science and math in universities.

Harvard’s 30-member Board of Overseers is to meet Sunday and is expected to give her final approval, according to the officials.Dr. Faust is currently dean of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, by far the smallest of Harvard’s schools. Much of the research sponsored by the institute, which is named after Radcliffe College, once the women’s college at Harvard, emphasizes the study of women, gender and society.

The institute is a research organization, sponsoring about 50 fellows a year, with a staff of about 80. Its budget of about $17 million a year is barely 0.5 percent of Harvard’s $3 billion annual budget. Despite her lack of experience running a large organization, Dr. Faust was apparently perceived by the nine-member search committee as an adroit administrator with considerable people skills, a valued commodity after the polarization that occurred under Dr. Summers, particularly among women on the faculty.

More background from the Boston Globe. Y

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