Harvard Begins President Search

The Corporation’s senior fellow invites ideas in the search for Drew Faust’s successor.

President Drew Faust
President Drew Faust and...

The Harvard Corporation launched the search for a successor to President Drew Faust externally this morning, in an email to the community from senior fellow William F. Lee. It invites “perspectives” on three matters:

  • the principal opportunities and challenges likely to face Harvard and higher education in the coming years and the priorities that our new president should have most in mind;
  • the qualities and experience most important in the next president; [and]
  • any individuals you believe warrant serious consideration as possible candidates.

Faust announced on June 14 that she plans to step down at the end of this academic year, on June 30, 2018. As Lee explained in a subsequent conversation with the Harvard Gazette published on June 21, the search committee consists of the 12 Corporation members (excluding Faust) and three members of the Board of Overseers. (It is larger than past search committees because this is the first search conducted since the Corporation was enlarged from seven members to 13 following the governance reforms unveiled in late 2010.) As he noted there, the search committee will organize formal conduits for information:

In the last search, we created two advisory committees, one of faculty, another of students, both including members from across the University. They were enormously helpful by providing us advice, gathering information, and reaching out to others with different perspectives and ideas. The model worked very well last time, and I would expect that we would have the same type of committees and that we’ll work with them in the same close manner.

Today's email conveys the news that there will be a staff advisory committee as well.

Lee’s note observes of candidates' qualifications:

As in past Harvard presidential searches, we will be seeking a person of high intellectual distinction, with proven qualities of leadership, a devotion to excellence in education and research, a capacity to guide a complex institution through times of change, a commitment to advance progress and collaboration across a wide span of academic domains, and a dedication to the ideals and values central to a community of learning.

Interested parties can communicate with the search committee by email at psearch@harvard.edu, or by directing correspondence to Harvard University Presidential Search Committee, Loeb House, 17 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

The committee members are the sitting Corporation other than Faust and, from the Overseers, this year’s president, Scott A. Abell, and vice chair of the executive committee, Tracy P. Palandjian, joined by Susan L. Carney, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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