|29th President of Harvard University|
|Assumed office |
July 1, 2018
|Preceded by||Drew Gilpin Faust|
|12th President of Tufts University|
September 1, 2001 – July 29, 2011
|Preceded by||John A. DiBiaggio|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Monaco|
|3rd Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
August 1, 1998 – June 30, 2001
|President||Charles M. Vest|
|Preceded by||Paul E. Gray|
|Succeeded by||Phillip Clay|
Lawrence Seldon Bacow
August 24, 1951
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Adele Fleet Bacow|
|Residence||Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.B.)|
Harvard University (M.P.P., J.D., Ph.D.)
|Thesis||Regulating occupational hazards through collective bargaining (1978)|
Lawrence Seldon Bacow (//; born August 24, 1951) is an American lawyer, economist, author, and the 29th President of Harvard University; he assumed office on July 1, 2018, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust. Bacow was the Hauser leader-in-residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Center for Public Leadership, prior to the presidency. He was previously at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has been a member of the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, since 2011.
Previous to his election to the Harvard presidency, he served as the 12th President of Tufts University from September 2001 to July 2011. He began his academic career as a professor of "environmental policy, negotiation, economics, and the intersection of law and public policy" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After 24 years of service, he concluded his time at MIT as department chair and the chancellor of the university.
Early life and education
Lawrence Seldon Bacow was born on August 24, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan. His mother emigrated from Europe at age 19 after World War II. She was the only member of her family to survive Auschwitz. Bacow's father was brought to America as a child to escape pogroms. Bacow grew up in Pontiac, Michigan and was a part of the Boy Scouts of America; he would eventually rise to be an Eagle Scout. The organization would give him the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award later in life.
Bacow received his S.B. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Jewish social fraternity Zeta Beta Tau. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his M.P.P. and Ph.D. from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bacow began his academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as professor at the institution for 24 years, ultimately being appointed department chair and the chancellor. Bacow majored in economics as an undergraduate at MIT, then earned a law degree and a PhD in public policy at Harvard. Upon completion of graduate school in 1977, he returned to MIT to teach in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, becoming the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies. He was the co-founder and first Director of MIT's Center for Real Estate. As Chancellor of MIT (1998-2001), he had oversight of undergraduate and graduate education, student life, admissions, financial aid, athletics, campus planning, and MIT's large scale institutional partnerships both industrial and international. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.
While President of Tufts, Bacow opposed the unionization efforts of graduate students as well as those of the university's technical and clerical employees. On February 8, 2010 in an email to the student body he announced that he would be stepping down as President of Tufts in June 2011. On March 1, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that Bacow was appointed to the board of advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
On May 25, 2011, Bacow was named as a member of the Harvard Corporation, the board tasked with guiding the endeavors and initiatives of Harvard University. Thus, for approximately one month, until his resignation from Tufts, he had governance responsibilities at both Tufts University and Harvard University.
After Bacow was mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006 as a possible candidate to succeed Lawrence Summers as president of Harvard University, Bacow categorically denied interest in the position, saying, "I took this job [Tufts] expecting it to be my last. I still do."
On February 11, 2018, it was announced that Bacow was set to become the 29th president of Harvard University on July 1, 2018, succeeding Drew Faust. Chosen out of 700 candidates, his election was considered a "safe" succession to Faust. President Lawrence Bacow has refused to divest from private prisons in the midst of a widespread student-led protest. Currently, Harvard Corporation invests their 39 billion dollar endowment into private prison companies like Axon, GeoGroup and CoreCivic (immigration detention centers), and Tokio Marine (bail bond holder). “One thing you have to understand about me is that I don’t respond to demands, I respond to reason,” Bacow told six organizers from the pro-divestment organization after reiterating the University’s long-standing anti-divestment position. President Bacow has also continued the staunch resistance of the Faust administration to the growing campaign for fossil fuel divestment of the endowment, which has received support from over 70% of the student body , hundreds of faculty members,  and almost 1700 alumni . Recently, the campaign has received support from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and teen gun control activist David Hogg. While President Bacow has repeatedly mentioned "engagement" with fossil fuel companies as being preferable to divestment, he has to date provided no evidence of what this "engagement" entails or any success it has had. On April 11th, 2019, President Bacow made a surprise appearance at a public forum on fossil fuel divestment  after having ignored repeated requests for participation and following a protest led by fossil fuel and private prison divestment organizers of a talk he was giving at the Institute of Politics. During the forum, Bacow reiterated the same arguments against fossil fuel divestment that the Fossil Free Divest Harvard campaign  has heard since it began in 2012.
Bacow is an avid runner, with five marathons under his belt. He and his wife, Adele Fleet Bacow, president of Community Partners Consultants, an urban planning firm, have two sons, Jay (b. 1980) and Ken.
- List of Harvard University people
- List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni
- List of Tufts University people
- Svrluga, Susan (February 11, 2018). "Harvard names former Tufts leader Lawrence Bacow as president". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Hartocollis, Anemona (February 11, 2018). "Harvard Chooses Lawrence Bacow as Its Next President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Townley, Alvin (December 26, 2006). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
- "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Scouting.org. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "Lawrence Bacow Named New Harvard University President". February 11, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Bacow, Lawrence Seldon (1978). Regulating occupational hazards through collective bargaining (Ph.D.). Harvard University. OCLC 8979942 – via ProQuest.
- "Lawrence S. Bacow | MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning". dusp.mit.edu. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
- "Lawrence Bacow Named New Harvard University President". February 11, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- "Bacow opposed to grad student unionization - The Tufts Daily". The Tufts Daily. April 1, 2002. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Administration rebuffs efforts to unionize workers - The Tufts Daily". The Tufts Daily. April 15, 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Communications, Office of Web. "Tufts E-News: Obama Taps Bacow for Higher Education Initiative". enews.tufts.edu. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Three to Join Harvard Corporation". Harvard Gazette. May 25, 2011.
- "Harvard names Lawrence S. Bacow as 29th president". February 11, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- The Harvard Crimson, Unsettling Truths About Harvard’s Investments in Prisons, https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2018/10/12/clarke-drake-dunbar-gronke-harvard-prison-investments/
- The Harvard Crimson, Bacow Tells Prison Divestment Group He Responds to ‘Reason,’ Not ‘Demands’, https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/2/15/bacow-meets-with-divest/
- After five straight years in the field, Bacow gives legs a respite from marathon - Sports Archived April 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Honest Mr Scoutmaster, it wasn't us...honest". Listserv. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
- "Adele Fleet Bacow: First Lady of Tufts". Tufts Magazine. Fall 2001.
- Harvard profile
- Lawrence S. Bacow biography - Tufts University
- The President's Marathon Challenge
- Larry Bacow Playlist Appearance on WMBR's Dinnertime Sampler radio show April 27, 2005
Title last held byPaul E. Gray
| Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1998 – 2001
John A. DiBiaggio
| President of Tufts University
2001 – 2011
Drew Gilpin Faust
| President of Harvard University
2018 – present