Claudine Gay succeeded Lawrence Bacow as the president of Harvard University on Thursday, December 15, 2022. She became the first Black and second woman to lead Harvard University. She will be assuming office as the president on July 3, 2023.

“Claudine has brought to her roles a rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness, intellectual range and strategic savvy, institutional ambition and personal humility, a respect for enduring ideals and a talent for catalyzing change,” Penny Pritzker, the chair of the presidential search committee said in a statement to Harvard. 

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“She has a bedrock commitment to free inquiry and expression, as well as a deep appreciation for the diverse voices and views that are the lifeblood of a university community,” Pritzker added.

Who is Claudine Gay?

Claudine Gay was born on August 4, 1970, in New York, United States. She comes from a family of Haitian immigrants who came to the US for studies. Her father worked in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and she spent her childhood in New York as well as Saudi Arabia, where her father was posted. 

She graduated in Economics from Stanford University in 1992, receiving the Anna Laura Myers Prize for best undergraduate thesis. Gay later obtained her Ph.D. at Harvard in 1998, where she won the Toppan Prize for the finest political science dissertation.

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Gay worked at Stanford’s Department of Political Science from 2000 to 2006 as an assistant professor, then an associate professor. She then relocated to Harvard University, where she was appointed dean of social science in July 2015. She was appointed the Edgerley Family Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in July 2018. She took up the position on August 15.

Her book The Effect of Minority Districts and Minority Representation on Political Participation in California was published in 2001.