[ 2007-02-12 09:47 ]
on Sunday named historian Drew Gilpin Faust as its first female president,
ending a lengthy and secretive search to find a successor to Lawrence Summers
and his tumultuous five-year tenure.
The seven-member Harvard Corporation elected Faust, a noted scholar of
the American South and dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study,
as the university's 28th president. The board of overseers recommended her for the
Faust, 59, recognized the significance of her appointment.
"I hope my appointment can be one symbol of an opportunity that would have
been inconceivable even a generation ago," she said at a news conference. But,
she added, "I'm not the woman president of Harvard, I'm the president of
With Faust's appointment, half of the eight Ivy
League schools will have a woman as president. Her selection is
noteworthy given the uproar over Summers' comments that genetic differences
between the sexes might help explain the dearth of women in top science jobs, comments
which sparked debates about equality at Harvard and nationwide.
Faust oversaw the creation of two faculty task forces, formed in the
aftermath of Summers' remarks, to examine gender diversity at Harvard. She has
been dean of Radcliffe since 2001, two years after the former women's college
was merged into the university as a research center with a mission to study
"This is a great day, and a historic day, for Harvard," said James R.
Houghton, chairman of the presidential search committee.
Faust is the first Harvard president who did not receive an undergraduate or
graduate degree from the university since Charles Chauncy, an alumnus of
Cambridge University in England, who died in office in 1672. She attended Bryn
Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania, where she was also a professor
Faust pivots from managing Radcliffe, a think-tank with 87 employees and a $17 million
budget, to presiding over Harvard's 11 schools and colleges, 24,000 employees
and a budget of $3 billion. The Harvard presidency is perhaps the most
prestigious job in higher education, offering a pulpit where remarks resonate
throughout academic circles and unparalleled resources, including a university
endowment valued at nearly $30 billion.
"Faculty turned to her constantly as someone whose opinion is to be trusted,"
said Sheldon Hackney, a former president of The University of Pennsylvania and
southern historian who worked closely with Faust. "She's very clear,
well-organized. She has a sense of humor, but she's very even-keeled. You come
to trust in her because she's so solid."
In Faust, Harvard not only has its first female leader, but a president who
has candidly discussed her feminist ideals in a memoir, "Shapers of Southern
History: Autobiographical Reflections."
Born Catherine Gilpin in the Jim Crow era, to a privileged family in
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Faust wrote that a conversation at age 9 with the
family's black handyman and driver inspired her to send a letter to President
Eisenhower pleading for desegregation.
She then began to question the rigid Southern conventions where girls wore
"scratchy organdy dresses" and white children addressed black adults by their
"I was the rebel who did not just march for civil rights and against the
Vietnam War but who fought endlessly with my mother, refusing to accept her
insistence that 'this is a man's world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that,
the better off you'll be,'" she writes.
Ivy League schools：常青藤学院
dearth：A scarce supply; a lack（缺乏）