Harvard's 1st female president stepping down after 11 years

Harvard University President Drew Faust announced Wednesday that she will step down from her post in June 2018.

■ Faust became Harvard University's 28th president - the first woman to lead the institution - in 2007.

The proportion of women on the tenured faculty has also increased by 25 per cent since 2008 and now represents nearly 26 per cent of the total.

Faust was president during the national economic downturn, which meant she helped guide Harvard during concerns over declines in the endowment.

"She came into office after a period of strife and controversy on campus, and she quickly restored trust and a sense of common goal", William F. Lee, the leader of Harvard's governing board, said in a statement Wednesday.

Faust also started a capital drive that has raised some $8 billion thus far for the school based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. Under her tenure, she also expanded the engineering department by offering three times as many concentrations and prioritized the construction of a building for the university's engineering school in Allston.

Faust's administration has drawn backlash from alumni and faculty over efforts to crack down on all-male social clubs.

Her tenure was also marked by financial difficulties, with the university's endowment losing nearly 30 per cent of its value in 2009 following the global credit crisis. The men's soccer team was suspended previous year after a "scouting report" assigning female athletes sexual positions was discovered.

Faust said in her remaining year on the job she would continue to work on several goals, including "combatting the ongoing threat to federal funding for research" and "advancing the work of inclusion and belonging that enables every member of our community to thrive".

Harvard will begin a search committee the coming weeks to choose the next president, according to the Crimson.

  • Zachary Reyes