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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Asonibare

Claudine Gay Becomes the First Black and Second Female President of Harvard

On Thursday, December 15, Harvard University announced the appointment of Claudine Gay as its 30th president. Dr Gay will be the first Black and second female president in the institution's nearly 400-year history.

Dr Gay, who is a Haitian immigrant's daughter, was chosen to succeed Lawrence S. Bacow after a search that started in July following his announcement in June that he would retire in the coming year. She will formally take up the role starting next summer.

Dr Gay has a lengthy connection with Harvard even though she has never served as president. She graduated from the institution with a doctorate in government in 1998, and in 2008 she joined the department of African and African-American studies faculty. She initially taught there before moving up to the managerial levels.

During the appointment event that was held on Thursday, she reflected on her journey saying:

My parents are immigrants from Haiti. They came to the U.S. with very little and put themselves through college while raising our family. My mom became a registered nurse and my dad a civil engineer. And it was the City College of New York that made those careers possible. College was always the expectation for me. My parents believed that education opens every door, but of course, they gave me three options: I could become an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer, which I’m sure other kids of immigrant parents could relate to. Becoming an academic was not what my parents had in mind.

In addition, she addressed the current social, political, economic, and technological developments and issues that society is facing, emphasizing the need for Harvard to be devoted to transparency and engagement.

You can read more about this story by visiting The New York Times.

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