A full circle

This morning (US Eastern Standard Time), the Board of Overseers of Harvard will appoint its 28th president and the first female president in the university’s 371 years of history.

Read more about it here.

Drew Gilpin Faust, currently Dean of Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, is set to take over the leadership of the world’s richest and, (perhaps arguably) the most powerful university.

Her appointment comes nearly one year after former Harvard President, Lawrence H. Summers (a prominent American economist who’s also ex-Secretary of Treasury during the Clinton administration) was forced to resign due to his clash with many members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and his costly remark during the 2005 National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER) conference that the innate ability or preference of women may be the reason why women are under-represented in high-end science and engineering positions.

Other candidates who’ve been seriously considered by The Harvard Corporation included Thomas Cech (HHMI president), Steve Hyman (Harvard Provost), John Etchemendy (Stanford Provost), and most interestingly, Allison Richards (yes, our dear Vice-Chancellor herself! One wonders if she might have followed the footsteps of Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate and former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge who was lured back to Harvard as Lamont University Professor, citing that Harvard gave him an ‘offer he couldn’t refuse’). Looks like VC Richards is set to stay in Cambridge University till the end of her tenure at 2010.

From Summers’ allegedly sexist remarks, to the appointment of the first female President of a traditionally male-dominated seat of learning, we have come to a full circle of events.

Or have we?

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