Drew Gilpin Faust

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Drew Gilpin Faust
Women in Economic Decision-making Drew Gilpin Faust (8414040540).jpg
28th President of Harvard University
In office
July 1, 2007 – July 1, 2018
Preceded byLawrence Summers
Derek Bok (acting)
Succeeded byLawrence Bacow
Personal details
Catharine Drew Gilpin

(1947-09-18) September 18, 1947 (age 75)
New York City, U.S.
SpouseCharles E. Rosenberg
EducationBryn Mawr College (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (MA, PhD)
Academic background
ThesisA Sacred Circle: The Social Role of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840–1860 (1975)
Doctoral advisorCharles E. Rosenberg
Academic work
Sub-disciplineAmerican South
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Harvard University

Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947)[1] is an American historian, and the 28th president of Harvard University, and the first woman in that role.[2] She was Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard and the first to have been raised in the South.[3][4] Faust is also the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.[1] She has been ranked among the world's most powerful women by Forbes, including as the 33rd most powerful in 2014.[5]

Early life[edit]

Drew Gilpin was born in New York City[6] and raised in Clarke County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley.[1] She is the daughter of Catharine Ginna (née Mellick) and McGhee Tyson Gilpin. Her father was a Princeton graduate and breeder of thoroughbred horses.[1][7] Her paternal great-grandfather, Lawrence Tyson, was a U.S. senator from Tennessee during the 1920s.[8] Faust also has New England ancestry and is a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, the third president of Princeton.[7]


Faust graduated from Concord Academy, Concord, Massachusetts, in 1964. She earned a BA magna cum laude with honors in history from Bryn Mawr College in 1968. She earned an MA in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1975, with a dissertation entitled "A Sacred Circle: The Social Role of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840–1860".[9][10]


In 1975, Faust joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty as assistant professor of American civilization. A specialist in the history of the South in the antebellum period and Civil War, Faust rose to become Walter Annenberg Professor of History.

External video
video icon Booknotes interview with Faust on Mothers of Invention, September 1, 1996, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Faust on This Republic of Suffering, January 9, 2008, C-SPAN

She is the author of six books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996), 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. Her other works include James Henry Hammond and the Old South, a biography of James Henry Hammond, Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844. This Republic of Suffering (2008) was a critically acclaimed exploration of how the United States' understanding of death was shaped by the high losses during the Civil War. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

In 2001, Faust was appointed the first dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which was established after the merger of Radcliffe College with Harvard University.[1]

On February 8, 2007, Faust was selected as the next president of the university.[11] Following formal approval by the university's governing boards, her appointment was made official three days later.[12] Faust was the first woman to serve as president of Harvard University.[13]

Faust replaced Lawrence 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 to 1991, returned to serve as an interim president during the 2006–2007 academic year.

Preparations for inauguration of Faust

During a press conference on campus, Faust said, "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."[3]

On October 12, 2007, Faust delivered her installation address, 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.[14]

In one of Faust's first initiatives, she significantly increased financial aid offers to students at Harvard College. On December 10, 2007, Faust announced a new policy for middle-class and upper-middle-class students, which 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 said, "Education is the engine that makes American democracy work.... And it has to work and that means people have to have access."[15] The new policy 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, Yale, and many other private U.S. universities and colleges.[16]

In addition to promoting access to higher education, Faust has testified before the U.S. Congress to promote increased funding for scientific research and support of junior faculty researchers.[17] She has made it a priority to revitalize the arts at Harvard and integrate them into the daily life of students and staff.[18] Faust has worked to further internationalize the university. In addition, she has been a strong advocate for sustainability and has set an ambitious goal of reducing the university's greenhouse gas emissions by 2016, including those associated with prospective growth, by 30 percent below Harvard's 2006 baseline.[19]

In May 2008, Christina Romer, 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. At Harvard, the confidential nature of the process includes a panel that consists of outside experts and internal faculty members from outside the department. Faust has declined to discuss press reports related to Romer's tenure case.[20] Romer was later nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. Also in Faust's tenure, Harvard's economics department witnessed an exodus of prominent faculty to Stanford and MIT, including Raj Chetty, Susan Athey, Guido Imbens, Drew Fudenberg, and Nobel Laureate Al Roth.[21]

In the wake of a series of layoffs in June 2009, Faust was criticized for refusing to accept a pay cut that would have saved 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.[22] Reports on Faust's salary differ: The Boston Globe reports that Faust made $775,043 in the 2007–2008 school year,[23] while The Harvard Crimson reported that Faust made $693,739 in salary and benefits for the 2008–2009 fiscal year.[24] 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 of 2.4 percent of its employees.[25]

Faust championed organic lawn management of the campus grounds and Harvard Yard during her tenure, including adopting the practices at Elmwood, the president’s house on Brattle Street. The move reduced the use of irrigation water by 30%, made Harvard Yard greener, and improved the health of the campus orchard.[26]

In December 2010, Faust and Stanford University president John L. Hennessy co-wrote an editorial in support of passage of the DREAM Act. The legislation was not passed by the 111th United States Congress.[27]

In 2011, Faust signed an agreement with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, JD '76, to formally return the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program to campus after almost 40 years, following the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law in December 2010.[28]

In 2016, Harvard began to study its history with slavery following Faust's public acknowledgement that the school was "directly complicit in America's system of racial bondage", then had a commemorative plaque installed on campus to honor the enslaved whose labor was exploited by the institution. Her successor, Lawrence Bacow, subsequently commissioned a formal study in 2019, continuing Faust's work.[29]

Faust retired as president of Harvard College in June 2018, succeeded by Lawrence Bacow. Four days after retiring from her position as president, she joined the board of Goldman Sachs. She retains her title as a professor of history at Harvard.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Faust is married to Charles E. Rosenberg, a historian of medicine at Harvard. Rosenberg was Faust's dissertation advisor.[31] They have a daughter, Jessica Rosenberg, who is a Harvard graduate and works for The New Yorker. Faust also has a stepdaughter, Leah Rosenberg.[32]

She was previously married to Stephen Faust.[33]

Faust was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988 and treated that year. She has enjoyed good health since then. She has declined to speak with the media with more details about her diagnosis or treatment.[34]

Honors, affiliations and awards[edit]

Awards for written works[edit]

  • Received the 2009 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University for This Republic of Suffering (2008).
  • Awarded the 2008 American History Book Prize for This Republic of Suffering.
  • Her "Dread Void of Uncertainty" was named one of ten best history essays of 2005 by the Organization of American Historians[41]
  • Received the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for Mothers of Invention, 1997[42]

Selected works[edit]

  • This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Knopf, 2008) ISBN 978-0-375-40404-7
    • This Republic of Suffering made the New York Times Book Review list of "10 Best Books of 2008" as chosen by the paper's editors.[43] The book was also a finalist for the National Book Awards (2008) and the Pulitzer Prize. (2009)[44]
  • The Dread Void of Uncertainty: Naming the Dead in the American Civil War (Southern Cultures, 2005)[45]
  • Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 1996) ISBN 978-0-8078-5573-7
  • Southern Stories: Slaveholders in Peace and War (University of Missouri Press, 1992) ISBN 978-0-8262-0975-7
  • The Creation of Confederate Nationalism: Ideology and Identity in the Civil War South (Louisiana State University Press, 1982) ISBN 978-0-8071-1606-7
  • James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery (Louisiana State University Press, 1982) ISBN 978-0-8071-1248-9
  • A Sacred Circle: The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840–1860 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977) ISBN 978-0-8122-1229-7
  • Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023) ISBN 9780374601812


Year Title Role Director
2012 American Experience: Death and the Civil War Herself Ric Burns
2015 The Gettysburg Address Herself Sean Conant


  1. ^ a b c d e Rimer, Sara (February 12, 2007). "A 'Rebellious Daughter' to Lead Harvard". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2007.
  2. ^ Crimson News Staff (February 8, 2007). "Faust Expected To Be Named President This Weekend". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Alderman, Jesse Harlan (February 11, 2007). "Harvard names 1st woman president". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2007.
  4. ^ Maria Sacchetti and, Marcella Bombardieri (February 12, 2007). "Champagne, cheers flow at Harvard". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  6. ^ "Drew Gilpin Faust facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Drew Gilpin Faust". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Martin E. Hollick, "The New England Ancestry of Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's 28th President" Archived December 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, American Ancestors, New England Historic Genealogical Society
  8. ^ "Living History, Drew Gilpin Faust", Harvard Magazine, May–June 2003
  9. ^ Faust, Catharine Drew Gilpin (1975). A sacred circle: The social role of the intellectual in the Old South, 1840-1860 (Ph.D.). University of Pennsylvania. OCLC 606047590 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ "Where can I find Drew Faust's thesis?". Harvard "Ask a Librarian". March 30, 2011. Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  11. ^ Schuker, Daniel J. T.; Zachary M. Seward; Javier C. Hernandez (February 8, 2007). "It's Faust: Radcliffe dean, if approved by Overseers, will be Harvard's first female leader". The Harvard Crimson.
  12. ^ Guehenno, Claire M.; Bhayani, Paras D. (February 11, 2007). "Faust Confirmed as 28th President". The Harvard Crimson.
  13. ^ "First Female Harvard President Discusses Priorities and Goals". pbs.org. February 12, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Drew Gilpin Faust, Installation address: Unleashing our most ambitious imaginings Archived June 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, President's Office, Harvard University, 12 Oct 2007
  15. ^ Rimer, Sara; Finder, Alan (December 10, 2007). "Harvard Steps Up Financial Aid". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Glater, Jonathan D. (February 21, 2008). "Stanford Set to Raise Aid for Students in Middle". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "Faust talks to U.S. Senate". The Harvard Crimson. March 11, 2008.
  18. ^ Glynias, Marissa A.; Kim, Minji (February 2, 2010). "A call to arts". The Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012.
  19. ^ "Statement on the Report of the Harvard Greenhouse Gas Task Force" Archived June 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, July 8, 2008, President's Office, Harvard
  20. ^ Wang, Shan (May 22, 2008). "Faust Vetoes Tenure Decision". The Harvard Crimson.
  21. ^ "At the Margin: Harvard Economics' Precarious Spot on Top".
  22. ^ Wu, June Q.; Athena Y. Jiang (May 18, 2009). "Admins stay mum on salaries". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  23. ^ Jan, Tracy (June 24, 2009). "Harvard workers stunned by layoffs". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  24. ^ "Faust's salary a surprise". [The Harvard Crimson]. November 9, 2009.
  25. ^ "Layoffs Begin". Harvard Magazine. July 23, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  26. ^ Raver, Anne (September 23, 2009). "The Grass Is Greener at Harvard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  27. ^ "Deserving of the DREAM". Politico. December 8, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  28. ^ Ho, Vivian (March 5, 2011). "Harvard welcomes ROTC back to campus". Boston.com. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  29. ^ Binkley, Collin (April 26, 2022). "Harvard pledges $100M to research, atone for role in slavery". AP News. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  30. ^ "Days After Exiting Presidency, Faust Joins Goldman Sachs Board of Directors | News | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  31. ^ Faust, Catharine Drew Gilpin (1975). A sacred circle: The social role of the intellectual in the Old South, 1840-1860 (Ph.D.). University of Pennsylvania. OCLC 606047590 – via ProQuest.
  32. ^ Harvard University – President Biography
  33. ^ "- Harvard Magazine". Harvard Magazine. November 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  34. ^ Maria Sacchetti; Marcella Bombardieri (February 27, 2007). "In Faust, early bold streak". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  35. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  36. ^ O'Leary, Mary E. (May 27, 2008). "Yale graduates 3,100 under sunny skies". New Haven Register. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2008.
  37. ^ Dienst, Karin. "Princeton awards five honorary degrees". princeton.edu.
  38. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com.
  39. ^ Jacqueline Trescott, "Drew Gilpin Faust, the prize-winning historian and Harvard president, will deliver annual Jefferson Lecture", The Washington Post, March 21, 2011.
  40. ^ "Library of Congress to Award Drew Gilpin Faust Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity". Library of Congress. June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  41. ^ "The Best American History Essays". macmillan.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  42. ^ "Past Winners, Francis Parkman Prize". sah.columbia.edu. Archived from the original on March 4, 2013.
  43. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2008". The New York Times. December 3, 2008.
  44. ^ "Pulitzer Prize History 2009". Pulitzer Prize. 2009.
  45. ^ Drew Gilpin Faust, "The Dread Void of Uncertainty": Naming the Dead in the American Civil War", Southern Cultures, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2005, pp. 7–32 | doi:10.1353/scu.2005.0018, at Project MUSE

External links[edit]