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Harvard University appoints Claudine Gay as school’s first Black president

By Amanda Musa, CNN

Claudine Gay will serve as Harvard’s 30th president, the University announced Thursday.

Gay is the first person of color and the second woman to hold the role of Harvard University’s president.

Born to Haitian immigrants, Gay received her Ph.D. in government from Harvard in 1998. She is also the recipient of the Toppan Prize for best dissertation in political science, according to the Harvard Gazette.

Since 2018, Gay served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She’s also a leading scholar of political behavior, considering issues of race and politics in America — and is the founding chair of the Inequality in America Initiative, a multidisciplinary effort launched in 2017.

Gay is preceded by current Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, who announced in June that he would be stepping down from the university’s top job after five years in office.

“I am humbled by the confidence that the governing boards have placed in me and by the prospect of succeeding President Bacow in leading this remarkable institution,” Gay said in the Harvard Gazette.

“It has been a privilege to work with Larry over the last five years. He has shown me that leadership isn’t about one person. It’s about all of us, moving forward together, and that’s a lesson I take with me into this next journey.”

Gay will take office in July 2023. She was elected to the presidency by the Harvard Corporation, the University’s principal governing board.

The election concludes an intensive search launched after Bacow’s announcement in June.

“Claudine is a person of bedrock integrity,” Bacow said in the Harvard Gazette. “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.”

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