Claudine Gay will become the thirtieth president of Harvard University. When she takes office on July 1, she will be the first African American to lead the university since its founding nearly 400 years ago.
“Today, we are in a moment of remarkable and accelerating change — socially, politically, economically, and technologically,” said Dr. Gay. “So many fundamental assumptions about how the world works and how we should relate to one another are being tested. Yet Harvard has a long history of rising to meet new challenges, of converting the energy of our time into forces of renewal and reinvention. With the strength of this extraordinary institution behind us, we enter a moment of possibility, one that calls for deeper collaboration across the university, across all of our remarkable Schools. There is an urgency for Harvard to be engaged with the world and to bring bold, brave, pioneering thinking to our greatest challenges. As I start my tenure, there’s so much more for me to discover about this institution that I love, and I’m looking forward to doing just that, with our whole community.”
Dr. Gay served as an assistant professor and then tenured associate professor at Stanford University before being recruited to Harvard in 2006 as a professor of government. She was also appointed a professor of African and African American Studies in 2007. In 2015, Dr. Gay was named the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government. Since 2018, Dr. Gay has served as the Edgerley Family Dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Gay is recognized as a highly influential expert on American political participation. Her research and teaching explore how various social and economic factors shape political views and voting behavior. She is the co-editor of Outsiders No More?: Models of Immigrant Political Incorporation (Oxford University Press, 2013).
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Dr. Gay grew up in New York and Saudi Arabia, where her father worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. Dr. Gay received her bachelor’s degree in 1992 from Stanford, where she majored in economics and was awarded the Anna Laura Myers Prize for best undergraduate thesis. In 1998, she received her Ph.D. in government from Harvard, where she won the Toppan Prize for best dissertation in political science.