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Claudine Gay appointed first black President of Harvard University

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Harvard University has appointed Claudine Gay as its 30th president, becoming the first black to be appointed to the illustrious position in the history of the school.

Gay will take over the helm of affairs of the citadel of learning on July 1, 2023. She was the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the school since 2018.

According to Harvard Magazine, the announcement of her election by the Harvard Corporation, with the consent of the Board of Overseers earlier today, was made at 1:35 P.M.

She will succeed Lawrence S. Bacow, who last June announced his plan to step down at the end of this academic year.

“The transition promises to be a seamless one: Gay, then dean of social science within the FAS, was a member of the faculty advisory committee during the search that resulted in Bacow’s election in 2018, and he appointed her dean of FAS. She has therefore been a member of the president’s academic council, and is well acquainted with all other members of the University’s and the schools’ senior leaders,” the Magazine said.

Gay is a scholar of government and African-American studies as well as a university administrator. She serves as Harvard’s Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African-American Studies, and Edgerley Family Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is vice president of the Midwest Political Science Association.

Gay’s research addresses American political behavior, including voter turnout and politics of race and identity.

On December 15, 2022, Harvard announced that Gay had been selected as the 30th president of Harvard University, with her term beginning on July 1, 2023.

Gay grew up as the child of Haitian immigrants to the United States; her parents met in New York as students (her mother studying nursing and her father engineering.) Gay is a cousin of writer Roxane Gay.

Gay spent much of her childhood first in New York, then in Saudi Arabia where her father worked for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Her mother was a registered nurse.

Gay attended Phillips Exeter Academy, then studied economics at Stanford University, receiving the Anna Laura Myers Prize for best undergraduate thesis in economics. She graduated in 1992. Gay then earned her Ph.D. (1998) from Harvard, winning the university’s Toppan Prize for best dissertation in political science.

She served as assistant professor, then associate professor in Stanford’s Department of Political Science from 2000 to 2006. In the 2003-2004 academic year, Gay was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

She subsequently moved to Harvard University and in July 2015, she became Dean of Social Science at Harvard University. In July 2018, she was named the Edgerley Family Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to assume the post August 15.

In 2018-19, Gay convened a review panel which decided to suspend economics professor Roland Fryer for allegedly engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior with one of his assistants and at least four other employees.

Since 2017, Gay has also served as a trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy.

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