Lawrence Bacow, a native of Pontiac, has been named as Harvard University’s next president.
Bacow will become the 29th president of the institution effective July 1. The son of immigrant parents, Bacow’s mother is an Auschwitz survivor, he earned three degrees at Harvard in the 1970s, a J.D. and M.P.P. in 1976, and a Ph.D. in public policy in 1978, according to a release from the university.
Bacow currently serves as the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership. He’s spent the last 10-years as the 12th president of Tufts University. He was known there as an administrator dedicated to expanding student opportunity, enhancing collaboration and seeking new innovations in higher education and how universities serve the public, according to the release.
In 2011, Bacow joined Harvard’s principal governing board, the Harvard Corporation. During the presidential search, Bacow was urged to consider running as a possible candidate, withdrawing from the search committee in December of last year. Bacow will replace Drew Faust, who served as president of Harvard for the last 11-years, announcing she would step down last summer.
“The Harvard I have known has always stood for at least three things: the pursuit of truth, an unwavering commitment to excellence, and opportunity.,” Bacow said in a statement.
“In a nation divided, these guiding ideals have never been more important. We should never shy away from nor be apologetic about affirming our commitment to making the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship and our commitment to truth, excellence, and opportunity for all.”
21 HRS AGO
In his time at Tufts, Bacow also launched the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity, working to increase the number of women and minorities in positions of leadership and on the faculty. In 2003, he founded the university’s President’s Marathon Challenge. The challenge aims to bring members of the university community together to run and volunteer in the Boston Marathon, raising funds to support medical and nutrition research.
Bacow began his education career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, serving for 24 years in various positions such as chancellor, chair of the faculty, and the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies.
Bacow is also a senior advisor to Ithaka S+R, a research organization supporting academic institutions. He served as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Lincoln Project from 2014 to 2016, working to preserve and strengthen public research universities. From 2010 to 2015, Bacow was an advisory board member for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“We are blessed with extraordinary students, faculty, and staff,” Bacow said in a statement.
“Whenever I see tourists taking pictures in Harvard Yard, I want to stop them and say, ‘No! Harvard is not its buildings. It is its people and they are inspiring, from faculty pushing the boundaries of knowledge in virtually every field imaginable, to students who excel in every possible dimension, to our staff who are dedicated to enabling everything we do.”