Drew Gilpin Faust Wiki, Wikipedia, Education, New Book, Interview
Drew Gilpin Faust Wiki, Wikipedia, Education, New Book, Interview – Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust is a name that has left a lasting impact on the world of academia and leadership. Born on September 18, 1947, she became the 28th president of Harvard University, making history as the first woman to hold this prestigious position. Her journey, however, was not typical, as she was the first Harvard president in over three centuries not to have received her undergraduate or graduate degree from the institution. Let’s delve into the life of this extraordinary individual and explore her early years, education, career, and significant contributions.
Drew Gilpin Faust Early Life and Education
Catharine Drew Gilpin, known as Drew Gilpin Faust, was born in the bustling city of New York on September 18, 1947. But her upbringing was far from the city lights. She spent her formative years in Clarke County, Virginia, nestled in the serene Shenandoah Valley. Drew is the daughter of Catharine Ginna and McGhee Tyson Gilpin. Her father was not just any man; he was a Princeton graduate and a breeder of thoroughbred horses. The Gilpin family had a rich political history, with her great-grandfather, Lawrence Tyson, serving as a U.S. senator from Tennessee during the 1920s.
But her family tree had even deeper roots. Drew Gilpin Faust could trace her ancestry back to New England, and she was a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, who happened to be the third president of Princeton University. Drew’s early life was a blend of city sophistication and rural charm, and it’s clear that her upbringing played a crucial role in shaping her future.
Drew completed her high school education at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1964. She then went on to pursue her undergraduate degree, earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with honors in history from Bryn Mawr College in 1968. Her commitment to learning and understanding the past only deepened, leading her to continue her academic journey. She earned a Master of Arts (M.A.) in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. Her passion for history eventually culminated in a Ph.D., which she received in 1975. Her doctoral dissertation, titled “A Sacred Circle: The Social Role of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840–1860,” reflected her deep-rooted interest in the history of the American South.
Drew Gilpin Faust Personal Life
Behind the academic and leadership accomplishments, Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust has a rich personal life. She is married to Charles E. Rosenberg, a historian of medicine who also happens to be her former dissertation advisor. The couple has a daughter, Jessica Rosenberg, who is a Harvard graduate and works for The New Yorker. Faust also has a stepdaughter named Leah Rosenberg.
Drew Gilpin Faust Career Highlights
Drew Gilpin Faust embarked on her professional career in academia, joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 as an assistant professor of American civilization. Her expertise lay in the history of the South during the antebellum period and the Civil War. Over the years, she rose through the academic ranks to become the Walter Annenberg Professor of History. But her influence extended beyond her teaching responsibilities.
Faust was not just a scholar but also an author. She penned six books during her career, including “Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War” in 1996. This remarkable work earned her prestigious awards, such as the Society of American Historians Francis Parkman Prize and the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians in 1997. Her other notable work included a biography of James Henry Hammond, the Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844, titled “James Henry Hammond and the Old South.” Her book “This Republic of Suffering,” published in 2008, explored how the United States’ perception of death was profoundly influenced by the high casualties of the Civil War. This particular work garnered her recognition as a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a National Book Award finalist.
In 2001, Faust’s career took a significant turn when she was appointed as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. This was a pivotal moment in her journey, as it marked the merger of Radcliffe College with Harvard University.
But the pinnacle of her career was yet to come. On February 8, 2007, Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust made history once again. She was chosen as the next president of Harvard University, succeeding Lawrence Summers. Her appointment was officially approved by the university’s governing boards three days later. This momentous occasion was noteworthy not only because she became the 28th president of Harvard but also because she shattered a long-standing tradition. She was not just the first woman to lead Harvard; she was also the first president in over three centuries without a Harvard undergraduate or graduate degree.
During her presidency, Faust made it clear that she was there to bring about positive change and open doors for others. In a press conference on campus, she expressed her hope that her appointment would symbolize the opening of opportunities that were once inconceivable. She emphasized, “I’m not the woman president of Harvard; I’m the president of Harvard.” Her leadership style was grounded in inclusivity and the belief that education should be accessible to all.
One of her first significant initiatives was to increase financial aid for Harvard College students substantially. In December 2007, Faust introduced a policy that limited parental contributions to 10 percent for families earning between $100,000 and $180,000 annually, replacing loans with grants. This policy aimed to make higher education more affordable and accessible. Harvard’s move set a precedent, with other prestigious universities like Stanford and Yale following suit.
Faust was not just focused on financial matters; she also advocated for increased funding for scientific research and support for junior faculty researchers. Her efforts extended beyond academia, as she worked to revitalize the arts at Harvard and integrate them into the daily life of students and staff. Furthermore, she was a staunch supporter of sustainability, setting ambitious goals to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below Harvard’s 2006 baseline by 2016.
However, her tenure was not without challenges. In 2009, during a period of layoffs, Faust faced criticism for not accepting a pay cut that could have saved jobs. The campus community and various groups had called for salary reductions as a means of cutting costs during a difficult financial period. Reports regarding Faust’s salary varied, with different sources citing different figures. Nonetheless, the university implemented salary freezes for several positions, including the president.
Faust’s commitment to sustainability extended to the campus grounds as well. She championed organic lawn management practices, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in irrigation water use, greener spaces in Harvard Yard, and improved orchard health at Elmwood, the president’s residence.
Her presidency also witnessed significant social and political developments. In December 2010, Faust co-wrote an editorial with Stanford University president John L. Hennessy in support of the DREAM Act, though it was not passed by Congress. Additionally, in 2011, she signed an agreement to bring back the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program to campus after nearly four decades, following the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law.
One of the most noteworthy legacies of Faust’s presidency was her commitment to addressing Harvard’s historical ties to slavery. In 2016, she publicly acknowledged that the university had been “directly complicit in America’s system of racial bondage.” This acknowledgment led to the installation of a commemorative plaque on campus, honoring the enslaved individuals whose labor had been exploited by the institution. Her successor, Lawrence Bacow, continued this work by commissioning a formal study in 2019.
Faust’s remarkable journey as president of Harvard College came to an end in June 2018 when she retired, passing the torch to Lawrence Bacow. Just four days after stepping down, she joined the board of Goldman Sachs, demonstrating her continued engagement in important leadership roles. Faust also retained her title as a professor of history at Harvard, ensuring that her passion for education and academia remained undiminished.
Drew Gilpin Faust Honors and Awards
Throughout her career, Faust received numerous honors and accolades. In 2007, she was elected to the American Philosophical Society. She was named a member of the “Time 100” in 2007, a list of the world’s most influential people. She became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was awarded honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and Princeton University. Faust was a regular feature on Forbes’ list of the “100 Most Powerful Women,” ranking as high as 33rd in 2014.
One of the most prestigious honors she received was the Jefferson Lecture in 2011, the highest honor for achievement in the humanities awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Faust’s lecture, titled “Telling War Stories: Reflections of a Civil War Historian,” showcased her deep insights into American history.
In October 2012, Faust delivered the Sesquicentennial Address at Boston College, exploring the role of scholarship and the university. In January 2015, she delivered the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge, discussing the United States during the Civil War and Britain during World War I.
In 2018, Faust was recognized with the John W. Kluge Prize by the Library of Congress, underscoring her significant contributions to the world of education and academia.
Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust’s life story is one of perseverance, dedication, and groundbreaking achievements. From her humble beginnings in Virginia to her historic presidency at Harvard University, she has left an indelible mark on the world of academia, leadership, and the pursuit of knowledge. Her commitment to making education accessible, her dedication to addressing historical injustices, and her passion for the arts and sustainability all serve as enduring testaments to her legacy. Faust’s life exemplifies the transformative power of education and leadership in shaping a brighter future for all.
Who was the first female president of Harvard University?
The first woman to become the president of Harvard University was Drew Gilpin Faust. She held this position from 2007 to 2018.
What is Drew Gilpin Faust doing now?
Drew Gilpin Faust, after her time as Harvard’s president, holds the title of Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor.
How old is Drew Gilpin Faust?
Drew Gilpin Faust is currently 76 years old.
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