Harvard’s New President Is A Black Woman, Claudine Gay

Social scientist and dean, Claudine Gray, has been chosen as the 30th president of Harvard University, the first Black person to enter the role.

According to the Harvard Gazette, Gay has served as the dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) for five years. As dean, she has guided efforts to expand student access and opportunity, spur excellence and innovation in teaching and research, enhance aspects of academic culture, and bring new emphasis and energy to areas such as quantum science and engineering; climate change; ethnicity, migration; and the humanities. 

Standing in front of a celebratory crowd at the Smith Campus Center, Gay spoke for the first time as the University’s 30th president-elect.

“I love this place. Harvard is where I found my intellectual home. It has nurtured and inspired me since I first set foot in the Yard,” said Gay. “I am deeply invested, not only in what Harvard is today, but also in what Harvard’s leadership means for the future.”

Courtesy of Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

The new president-elect graduated from Stanford University in 1992 with an undergraduate degree in economics and went on to earn a Ph.D. in government at Harvard in 1998. A quantitative social scientist with expertise in political behavior, Gay was a tenured faculty member at Stanford before joining the Harvard faculty in 2006 as a government professor. In 2007, she was appointed a professor of African and African American Studies, as well. Gay was named dean of social sciences at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2015 before becoming the School’s dean in July 2018.