Harvard University remains one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
It is the alma mater of our forever President, Barack Obama. It is also currently the university of choice for his daughter, Malia.
But did you know minorities only make up only about 8 percent of its faculty? Now for the first time in it’s 382-year history, four of the university’s academic departments will be led by African-American women.
Professor Claudine Gay will become the first woman and the first African-American to lead the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
She Wants To Inspire Other Women
Professor Claudine Gay remains modest about her remarkable achievement. But hopes it will inspire other women of color to apply for job roles at Harvard.
“For people who are sort of beyond our gates, if this prompts them to look again and look anew at Harvard and imagine new possibilities for themselves, I think that’s great as well,” she told The Crimson Harvard.
Gay will be joining three other Black women who are currently department heads at Harvard.
A Significant Turning Point
In 2016, Michelle A. Williams became the first black women to lead the university’s Longwood-based School of Public Health.
Tomiko Brown-Nagin and Bridget Terry-Long were also the first Black women who became deans of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Graduate School of Education in April and May, respectively.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow said, “Each of these exceptional individuals was selected because they enjoy reputations as distinguished scholars and educators, and because they are widely admired by their colleagues as extremely effective academic leaders.”
He added, “They were selected not because of their race or gender but because they each rose to the top of a rigorous search process.”