Harvard names Lawrence Bacow as 29th president

Feb. 11 (UPI) — Harvard University appointed former president of Tufts University Lawrence Bacow as its 29th president on Sunday.

Bacow, 66, was a board member under the university’s first female president Drew Gilpin Faust, who announced last summer she would step down after 11 years.

He was elected to the Harvard presidency by the Harvard Corporation with the consent of the university’s Board of Overseers and will assume the role of president beginning July 1.

“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution — and to succeed Drew Faust, whom I have been privileged to count as a friend and an inspiration since we met over a decade ago,” Bacow said.

Bacow was born in Pontiac, Mich., and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he later served as chancellor. He also earned three degrees from Harvard, including a law degree and doctorate in public policy.

“The Harvard I have known has always stood for at least three things: the pursuit of truth, an unwavering commitment to excellence, and opportunity,” he said. “In a nation divided, these guiding ideals have never been more important. We should never shy away from nor be apologetic about affirming our commitment to making the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship and our commitment to truth, excellence, and opportunity for all.”

Prior to joining the board at Harvard, Bacow served as president of Tufts University from September 2001 through July 2011.

“He understands the power of higher education to expand knowledge, strengthen society, and improve human lives. But he will also bring a clear-eyed perspective to the challenges higher education faces at this moment, and a deep devotion to addressing them in the effort to broaden opportunity for all,” Faust said. “I could not be happier contemplating Harvard in his hands, and I look forward to his many successes as president.”

The president of the university is a member of the board of Harvard Management Co., the entity overseeing the university’s endowment, which is the world’s largest at $37.1 billion.

The endowment gained 8.1 percent in the fiscal year which ended June 30, performing worse than the university’s peers.

“Such a time calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking, and disciplined execution,” William F. Lee, the chair of Harvard’s presidential search committee, said. “Larry will provide just that.”

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