Another day, another Ivy League president’s resignation. In the latest shakeup atop an Ivy League institution, Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow has announced that he will step down from the office in June of 2023. It seems like just yesterday — or rather February of 2018 — when Harvard announced that Bacow would succeed Drew Gilpin Faust as the next leader of the famed institution. Well, a little more than four years and a pandemic later and Bacow is on his way out. Bacow joins Columbia University’s Lee Bollinger, Dartmouth College’s Philip J. Hanlon, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Gutmann as Ivy League leaders who have announced their resignations in 2022.
As Cara J. Chang and Isabella B. Cho write for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Harvard President Lawrence Bacow To Step Down in June 2023,” “Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow will step down in June 2023 after just five years in office, ending a pandemic-stricken tenure in which he oversaw a radical transformation of the University’s operations due to Covid-19 and steered the school through the political turmoil of the end of the Trump era. Bacow, who announced his departure Wednesday afternoon, will be one of the shortest-serving Harvard presidents of the modern era, tying Lawrence H. Summers for the shortest tenure since the Civil War.”
During his tenure atop Harvard, Bacow stewarded the university’s defense of Affirmative Action (the school successfully won its lawsuit against Students for Fair Admissions — though the case is likely headed to the Supreme Court), helped the school take a major step forward in reckoning with the school’s historic ties to slavery by earmarking $100 million towards the cause, and — perhaps most notably — figured out how to continue to educate students during a global pandemic in which students couldn’t be on campus.
Stay tuned to see who Harvard names to succeed Bacow as its next leader.
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