Bacow to step down as Harvard’s president after 5 years

Lawrence S. Bacow, who led Harvard College in the course of the pandemic and spent greater than 50 years finding out, educating at and presiding over 3 main universities within the Boston space, introduced Wednesday that he would step down as Harvard’s president subsequent summer time.

“There’s by no means a great time to depart a task like this one, however now turns out proper to me,” Bacow mentioned in a ready remark. “Via our collective efforts, we’ve got discovered our manner in the course of the pandemic. We have now labored in combination to maintain Harvard thru trade and thru hurricane, and jointly we’ve got made Harvard higher and more potent in numerous tactics.”

When Bacow stepped down as president of Tufts College, in 2016, he described a decade because the optimum period of a presidency. “I’ve steadily mentioned that 10 years is ready the best time period for a college president. It’s lengthy sufficient for one particular person to have a considerable have an effect on however no longer see you later that the establishment, or the president, turns into at ease.”

Bacow will depart Harvard after a presidential stint about part as lengthy, however that duration integrated two complete years of the COVID-19 pandemic, every of which arguably counts as 3. (He additionally spent seven earlier years as a member of the Harvard Company, the college’s major governing frame.)

Right through that duration, the college sued to dam a federal coverage that might have avoided global scholars from residing within the U.S. if their coursework could be basically on-line, because it inevitably could be. “Larry instantly identified the hurt this could reason no longer most effective to particular person scholars however to all the thought of world training,” Bacow’s counterpart on the Massachusetts Institute of Generation, Rafael Reif, mentioned in a unencumber. “The truth that the coverage was once reversed the next week is a testomony to the power of his argument.”

Bacow additionally has led Harvard’s effort to protect its affirmative motion coverage towards constitutional problem. A federal appeals courtroom in 2020 discovered no proof of discrimination towards Asian American candidates in upholding Harvard’s coverage, however many be expecting the U.S. Preferrred Court docket to seek out fault with the college’s insurance policies when it hears an enchantment within the fall.

Amongst different highlights of Bacow’s tenure at Harvard, as coated by way of Inside of Upper Ed:

  • The college introduced that it will segment out its funding in fossil fuels. “Local weather trade is essentially the most consequential danger going through humanity. The ultimate a number of months have laid at our toes plain proof of the sector to return—huge fires that devour whole cities, exceptional flooding that inundates main city spaces, report warmth waves and drought that devastate meals provides and build up water shortage,” Bacow wrote. “We will have to act now as electorate, as students, and as an establishment to handle this disaster on as many fronts as we’ve got at our disposal.”
  • Harvard pledged $100 million this spring to atone for its ancient ties to slavery. “In truth that slavery performed an important phase in our institutional historical past,” Bacow wrote. “Enslaved other people labored on our campus supporting our scholars, college, and team of workers, together with a number of Harvard presidents. The hard work of enslaved other people each a long way and close to enriched a large number of donors and, in the long run, the establishment.”
  • The college considerably expanded its analysis into urgent issues in society, together with a brand new heart for the learn about of herbal and synthetic intelligence and a new heart for towns.

Sooner than being appointed Harvard’s president, Bacow spent 10 years as president of Tufts College, in Medford, Mass., and 24 years as a college member and administrator at MIT.

The son of immigrants, he attended school at MIT after which earned 3 levels from Harvard, together with a Ph.D. in public coverage. His scholarly paintings has integrated environmental coverage, bargaining and negotiation, economics, regulation, public coverage, and better training.


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