Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University

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Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University's Geni Profile

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Catharine Drew Faust (Gilpin)

Birthplace: New York, NY, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of McGhee Tyson Gilpin and Catharine Ginna Gilpin
Wife of Private
Widow of Stephen Faust

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University


Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947) is an American historian, college administrator, and the president of Harvard University. Faust is the first woman to serve as Harvard's president and the university's 28th president overall. Faust is the fifth woman to serve as president of an Ivy League university, and the former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Faust is also Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard.

Early life and career

Faust was born in New York City and raised in Clarke County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. She is the daughter of Catharine Mellick and McGhee Tyson Gilpin, a Princeton graduate and breeder of thoroughbred horses. Her great-grandfather, Lawrence Tyson, was a U. S. Senator from Tennessee during the 1920s. The family arrived in Clarke County at the turn of the 20th century. Faust is a descendant of the Puritan divine Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the third president of Princeton.

Graduating from Concord Academy, Concord, Massachusetts, in 1964, she earned her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, A.M. and Ph.D. in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. In the same year, she joined the Penn faculty as assistant professor of American civilization. Based on her research and teaching, she rose to Walter Annenberg Professor of History. A specialist in the history of the South in the antebellum period and Civil War, Faust developed new perspectives in intellectual history of the antebellum South and in the changing roles of women during the Civil War. She is the author of six books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, for which she won both the Society of American Historians Francis Parkman Prize and the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians in 1997. Faust’s most recent book, This Republic of Suffering (2008), was a critically acclaimed examination of how America’s understanding of death was shaped by the Civil War and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. [see awards below]

In 2001, Faust was appointed the first dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the successor to Radcliffe College. She is a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. She serves on the educational advisory board of the Guggenheim Foundation.

Appointment as President of Harvard University

On February 8, 2007, The Harvard Crimson announced that Faust had been selected as the next president. Following formal approval by the university's governing boards, her appointment was made official three days later.

Her appointment followed the departure of Lawrence H. Summers who resigned on June 30, 2006, after a series of controversial statements that led to mounting criticism from members of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Derek Bok, who had served as President of Harvard from 1971–1991, returned to serve as an interim president during the 2006-2007 academic year.

During a press conference on campus Faust stated, "I hope that my own appointment can be one symbol of an opening of opportunities that would have been inconceivable even a generation ago". She also added, "I'm not the woman president of Harvard, I'm the president of Harvard."

On October 12, 2007, Faust delivered her installation address as the president of Harvard at Cambridge, Mass., saying, "a university is not about results in the next quarter; it is not even about who a student has become by graduation. It is about learning that molds a lifetime, learning that transmits the heritage of millennia; learning that shapes the future".

One of Faust’s first initiatives after assuming the presidency was to significantly increase financial aid at Harvard College. On December 10, 2007, Faust announced a transformative new policy for middle-class and upper-middle-class students that limited parental contributions to 10 percent for families making between $100,000 and $180,000 annually, and replaced loans with grants. In announcing the policy Faust stated, “Education is the engine that makes American democracy work...And it has to work and that means people have to have access.” The new policy also expanded on earlier programs that eliminated contributions for families earning less than $60,000 a year and greatly reduced costs for families earning less than $100,000. Similar policies were subsequently adopted by Stanford University, Yale University, and many other private U.S. universities and colleges.

In addition to promoting accessibility to higher education, Faust has testified before the U.S. Congress to promote increased funding for scientific research and support of junior faculty researchers. She has made it a priority to revitalize the arts at Harvard and integrate them into the everyday life of students and staff. Faust has worked to further internationalize the University and has been a strong advocate for sustainability and has set an ambitious goal of reducing the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, including those associated with prospective growth, by 30 percent below Harvard’s 2006 baseline by 2016.

In May 2008, Christina Romer who was an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley was not offered tenure at Harvard despite support from the members of the Harvard Economics Department. Because of the confidential nature of the process, which at Harvard includes a panel consisting of outside experts and internal faculty members from outside the department, Faust has declined to discuss press reports related to Romer’s tenure case. Romer was later nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.

In the wake of a series of layoffs in June 2009, Faust drew criticism for her refusal to accept a pay cut in an effort to save jobs. In the months preceding the layoffs, various campus groups called upon Faust and other administrators to reduce their salaries as a means of cutting costs campus-wide.[18] Reports on Faust's salary differ: The Boston Globe reports that Faust made $775,043 in the 2007-2008 school year.[19], while the Harvard Crimson reports that Faust made $693,739 in salary and benefits for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. In early 2009, the Harvard Corporation approved salary freezes for the president, deans, senior officers, management staff, and faculty and offered an early retirement program. The University also undertook an involuntary reduction in staff that 2.4 percent of its employees.

In December, 2010, Faust and President John L. Hennessy of Stanford University cowrote an editorial in support of passage of the DREAM Act; the legislation was unsuccessful in passing the 111th United States Congress.

Personal life

Faust is married to Charles E. Rosenberg, a historian of medicine also at Harvard. She was previously married to Stephen Faust. Her first cousin is the movie and television actor Jack Gilpin, a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University. Her brother is Donald N. Gilpin, an English teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.

Faust was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in 1988 and "now enjoys a complete bill of health." She has declined to speak with the media about her diagnosis or treatment.

Honors/affiliations/awards and Selected works


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Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University's Timeline

September 18, 1947
New York, NY, United States