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Harvard University names first woman president

Harvard University names a historian as the first woman president in its 371-year history.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2007 09:49 IST

Harvard University has named a historian as the first woman president in its 371-year history, local media reported.

Drew Gilpin Faust, 59, who runs a research institute at the university, was elected by the seven-member Harvard Corporation, the school's governing body, and approved by the 30-member Board of Overseers late on Sunday.

"This is a great day and a historic day for Harvard," said James R Houghton, chairman of the presidential search committee.

"Drew Faust is an inspiring and accomplished leader, a superb scholar, a dedicated teacher and a wonderful human being," he said in a statement.

Interim president Derek Bok will serve until July 1 when Faust takes over.

Faust's ascension came a year after Lawrence H Summers, a former treasury secretary, resigned from the post amid fierce faculty discontent. The opposition erupted in part over Summers' suggestion that intrinsic aptitude could help explain why fewer women than men reach the highest ranks of science and math in universities.

"I hope that my own appointment can be one symbol of an opening of opportunities that would have been inconceivable even a generation ago," Faust said at a news conference on campus on Sunday.

"I'm not the woman president of Harvard, I'm the president of Harvard," she emphasised.