Today Harvard University announced that it has elected Drew Gilpin Faust as its new President, marking a turning point in its prestigious history. The former President, Laurence Summers, resigned after heated scrutiny surrounding comments he made regarding his opinion that men are more genetically predispositioned to hold high positions in science-related fields. The controversy surrounding Summers made Faust's election that much more profound for the University, which has come under scrutiny regarding the equality practices within its walls.
Faust seems extremely optimistic about her new role with the University and had this to say today about her appointment:
Faust, a white Southerner, has a history of fighting against racism and sexism. She has stated that her upbringing in a privilaged family from Virginia caused her to question the ways in which she had been brought up.
"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.
I think this appointment is fantastic, and am glad that Harvard has decided to shake its history up. Faust sounds like a leader with a huge amount of potential and I am proud that we can name one more woman who has changed the course of American academic history for the better!