Skip to content

Harvard Names First Black President In 386-Year-History

Harvard Names First Black President In 386-Year-History

Congratulations are in order!

Claudine Gay has just made history, Harvard University naming her the first Black President of the institution in its nearly four century history, CNN reports. 

This past summer, current Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow announced his departure after five years in office clearing the way for Gay’s new appointment as the University’s 30th President. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Gay holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, The Washington Post reports. She was also the recipient of the Toppan Prize for best political science dissertation.

Gay has served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 2018 and is a chief scholar on issues regarding race, politics and political behavior in America. She also serves as the founding chair of the Inequality in America Initiative, an endeavor which launched in 2017 focusing on encouraging teaching and research on social and economic inequality.

The University’s governing board launched an intensive search for Bacow’s successor after his announcement in June. He spoke about Gay’s historic appointment, praising her and affirming his confidence in Gay’s ability to lead the University into its next chapter.

 "Claudine is a person of bedrock integrity. She will provide Harvard with the strong moral compass necessary to lead this great university. The search committee has made an inspired choice for our 30th president. Under Claudine Gay's leadership, Harvard's future is very bright,” Bacow told reporters.

“Claudine has brought to her roles a rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness, intellectual range and strategic savvy, institutional ambition and personal humility, a respect for enduring ideals and a talent for catalyzing change,” added Penny Pritzker, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation and chair of the presidential search committee, in a statement. 

Gay is set to take office as the new University President in July 2023. She will also become the second woman ever to hold the title and is ecstatic to usher Harvard into its future.

“With the strength of this extraordinary institution behind us, we enter a moment of possibility, one that calls for deeper collaboration across the University, across all of our remarkable Schools. There is an urgency for Harvard to be engaged with the world and to bring bold, brave, pioneering thinking to our greatest challenges,” said Gay.

Congratulations President Gay!