Claudine Gay, 52, has officially taken office as Harvard University’s first Black president.
Yesterday (July 2), The Harvard Crimson revealed that Gay’s role took effect on Saturday (July 1). As the 30th president, she also became the first person of color to lead the way for the institution in its 386 years of existence. Born to Haitian immigrants, the political scientist previously served as Harvard‘s dean of the faculty of arts and sciences.
Since being elected, Gay has made key developments in preparing to take office. She has appointed several individuals to key roles, including promoting University Marshal Katherine G. O’Dair as her chief of staff. However, along with a new position, the former administrator inherited the school’s latest challenges.
Recently, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in higher education admissions. In a video message, Gay pledged that the university will stay determined to uphold a diverse student body. “The Supreme Court’s decision on college and university admissions will change how we pursue the educational benefits of diversity,” she said. “But our commitment to that work remains steadfast, is essential to who we are, and the mission that we are here to advance.”
In December 2022, Harvard’s presidential search committee selected Gay as the school’s top post. After her election, the New York native shared, “Today (Dec. 15), we are in a moment of remarkable and accelerating change — socially, politically, economically, and technologically. So many fundamental assumptions about how the world works and how we should relate to one another are being tested… There is an urgency for Harvard to be engaged with the world and to bring bold, brave, pioneering thinking to our greatest challenges.”
The Harvard graduate added, “As I start my tenure, there’s so much more for me to discover about this institution that I love, and I’m looking forward to doing just that with our whole community.”
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