Harvard President Lawrence Bacow will step down next year

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, who led the Ivy League school through the coronavirus pandemic and assembled a panel to examine the university’s deep ties to slavery, announced Wednesday that he plans to step down next year .

“There’s never a good time to quit a job like this, but now seems like the right time,” said Bacow, whose final day will be June 30, 2023, in a letter to the university community. “Through our combined efforts, we have found our way through the pandemic. We have worked together to carry Harvard through changes and storms, and together we have made Harvard better and stronger in countless ways.”

He announced no future plans other than that he and his wife Adele plan to spend more time with their children and grandchildren.

Bacow, 70, who took over as President in 2018, expanded and updated the university’s teaching and research mandates and fostered collaboration between disciplines to address complex issues such as climate change and inequality.


As an economist, lawyer and trained expert in public environmental policy, he is also an advocate of the free exchange of ideas.

Under his leadership, Harvard joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to get international students to leave the country if they were planning to teach entirely online in the fall of 2020, at the height of the pandemic. He criticized the policy for its “cruelty” and “recklessness”.

Harvard was one of the first universities to transition to distance learning early in the pandemic, and Bacow and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020.

Under his leadership, Harvard announced in 2021 that it would do so divest its $42 billion fossil fuel holdings outrightPart of a broader effort to combat climate change.


Harvard also faced challenges during his tenure. The university survived a legal challenge to its admissions policy in the US District Court, a case that is ongoing will now be weighed by the Supreme Court.

It also revealed this disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein visited Harvard’s campus more than 40 times after being convicted of sex crimes in 2008 – long before Bacow’s tenure – and was even given its own office.

Bacow’s 2019 commission to investigate how the university benefited from slavery found that Harvard’s faculty, staff, and leaders enslaved more than 70 black and Native Americans from the school’s founding in 1636 to 1783.

He announced in April that the school has promised to spend $100 million to study and atone for his links to slavery.


“Harvard could not have asked for a better, wiser, thoughtful, committed, experienced and humane leader during these times of extraordinary challenge and change,” said William Lee and Penny Pritzker, senior fellows of Harvard Corp., in a joint statement.

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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/08/harvard-president-lawrence-bacow-to-step-down-next-year/ Harvard President Lawrence Bacow will step down next year

Sarah Y. Kim

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