Drew Gilpin Faust

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Drew Gilpin Faust
Harvard President Drew Faust US Navy 110304-N-5549O-204.jpg
Drew Gilpin Faust in 2011
28th President of Harvard University
Assumed office
July 1, 2007 (2007-07-01)
Preceded by Lawrence Summers
Derek Bok (acting)
Personal details
Born Catharine Drew Gilpin
(1947-09-18) September 18, 1947 (age 75)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Charles E. Rosenberg
Children Jessica Rosenberg
Leah Rosenberg
Residence Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater Bryn Mawr College
University of Pennsylvania
Profession College administrator, Academic
Website Office of the President of Harvard University

Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947)[1] is an American historian, college administrator and the President of Harvard University.[2] Faust is the first woman to serve as Harvard's president and the university's 28th president overall. Faust is the fifth woman to serve as president of an Ivy League university and is the former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Faust is Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard, and the first to have been brought up in the South.[3][4] In 2014, she was ranked as the 33rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[5]

Early life and career

She was born Catharine Drew Gilpin in New York City 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][6] Her paternal great-grandfather, Lawrence Tyson, was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee during the 1920s.[7] Faust also has New England ancestry and is a descendant of the Puritan divine Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the third president of Princeton.[6]

She graduated from Concord Academy, Concord, Massachusetts, in 1964. She earned her BA from Bryn Mawr College in 1968. She graduated magna cum laude with honors in history. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for graduate work, earning her MA in 1971 and her Ph.D. in American Civilization in 1975 with a dissertation entitled A Sacred Circle: The Social Role of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840–1860.[8] In the same year, she joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty as assistant professor of American civilization. Based on her research and teaching, she rose to Walter Annenberg Professor of History. A specialist in the history of the South in the antebellum period and Civil War, Faust developed new perspectives in intellectual history of the antebellum South and in the changing roles of women during the Civil War.

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 works include James Henry Hammond and Old South, a biography of James Henry Hammond, Governor of South Carolina from 1842–1844. Faust’s most recent book, 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 (see awards below).

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

President of Harvard University

On February 8, 2007, The Harvard Crimson reported that Faust had been selected as the next president of the university.[9] Following formal approval by the university's governing boards, her appointment was made official three days later.[10]

Her appointment followed the departure of Lawrence H. 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 1971–1991, 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.[11]

One of Faust's first initiatives was significantly increasing financial aid offered to students at Harvard College. On December 10, 2007, Faust announced a transformative 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.”[12] 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.[13]

In addition to promoting accessibility to higher education, Faust has testified before the U.S. Congress to promote increased funding for scientific research and support of junior faculty researchers.[14] She has made it a priority to revitalize the arts at Harvard and integrate them into the daily life of students and staff.[15] 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.[16]

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. Because of the confidential nature of the process, which at Harvard includes a panel consisting of outside experts and internal faculty members from outside the department, Faust has declined to discuss press reports related to Romer’s tenure case.[17] Romer was later nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.

In the wake of a series of layoffs in June 2009, Faust was criticized for refusing to accept a pay cut in an effort to save 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.[18] Reports on Faust's salary differ: The Boston Globe reports that Faust made $775,043 in the 2007–2008 school year,[19] while the Harvard Crimson reported that Faust made $693,739 in salary and benefits for the 2008–2009 fiscal year.[20] 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.[21]

In December 2010, Faust and President John L. Hennessy of Stanford University co-wrote an editorial in support of passage of the DREAM Act. The legislation was not passed by the 111th United States Congress.[22]

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.[23]

Response to "Black Mass" scandal

On 12 May 2014, Faust responded to a Harvard student's club decision to re-enact a Satanic "black mass," writing:[24]

The reenactment of a 'black mass' planned by a student group affiliated with the Harvard Extension School challenges us to reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university with our commitment to foster a community based on civility and mutual understanding. Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy. Freedom of expression, as Justice Holmes famously said long ago, protects not only free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

But even as we permit expression of the widest range of ideas, we must also take responsibility for debating and challenging expression with which we profoundly disagree. The 'black mass' had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond. The decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent; it represents a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging and mutual respect that must define our community. It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory.

Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond—and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.

I plan to attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction at St. Paul's Church on our campus on Monday evening in order to join others in reaffirming our respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.

Personal life

Faust is married to Charles E. Rosenberg, a historian of medicine at Harvard. They have a daughter, Jessica Rosenberg, who is a Harvard graduate and works for the New Yorker. Faust also has a step daughter, Leah Rosenberg.[25]

She was previously married to Stephen Faust.[26]

Her first cousin is the movie and television actor Jack Gilpin.[26]

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.[27]


  • Named a member of the "Time 100" (2007)
  • Awarded honorary Doctorates from Bowdoin College (May 2007), the University of Pennsylvania (May 2008), Yale University (May 2008),[28] and Princeton University (May 2010).[29]
  • Faust has been included in the Forbes list of "100 Most Powerful Women" multiple times.[30] As of 2014, she was ranked at #33. She had risen from her 2013 position at #43.[5]
  • In 2011 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Faust for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Faust's lecture was entitled "Telling War Stories: Reflections of a Civil War Historian".[31]
  • In October 2012, Faust delivered the Sesquicentennial Address at Boston College, entitled "Scholarship and the Role of the University."
  • In January 2015, Faust delivered the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge, entitled "Two Wars and the Long Twentieth Century: the United States, 1861–65; Britain 1914–18"

Awards for written works

  • 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 [32]
  • Received the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for Mothers of Invention, 1997 [33]

Selected works

  • 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.[34] The book was also a finalist for the National Book Awards (2008) and the Pulitzer Prize. (2009) [35]
  • 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 | 10.1353/scu.2005.0018, at Project MUSE
  • 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

Film and television Appearances

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rimer, Sara (2007-02-12). "A 'Rebellious Daughter' to Lead Harvard". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "rimer" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Crimson News Staff (2007-02-08). "Faust Expected To Be Named President This Weekend". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2007-02-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alderman, Jesse Harlan (2007-02-11). "Harvard names 1st woman president". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-02-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  4. Maria Sacchetti and, Marcella Bombardieri (2007-02-12). "Champagne, cheers flow at Harvard". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-02-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 24 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Martin E. Hollick, "The New England Ancestry of Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's 28th President", American Ancestors, New England Historic Genealogical Society
  7. "Living History, Drew Gilpin Faust", Harvard Magazine, May–June, 2003
  8. "Where can I find Drew Faust's thesis?". Harvard "Ask a Librarian". 30 Mar 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Guehenno, Claire M.; Bhayani, Paras D. (February 11, 2007). "Faust Confirmed as 28th President". The Harvard Crimson.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Drew Gilpin Faust, Installation address: Unleashing our most ambitious imaginings, President's Office, Harvard University, 12 Oct 2007
  12. Rimer, Sara; Finder, Alan (December 10, 2007). "Harvard Steps Up Financial Aid". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Glater, Jonathan D. (February 21, 2008). "Stanford Set to Raise Aid for Students in Middle". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Faust talks to U.S. Senate". The Harvard Crimson. March 11, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Glynias, Marissa A.; Kim, Minji (February 2, 2010). "A call to arts". The Harvard Crimson.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Statement on the Report of the Harvard Greenhouse Gas Task Force", July 8, 2008, President's Office, Harvard
  17. Wang, Shan (May 22, 2008). "Faust Vetoes Tenure Decision". The Harvard Crimson.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Wu, June Q.; Athena Y. Jiang (18 May 2009). "Admins stay mum on salaries". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 24, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Jan, Tracy (24 June 2009). "Harvard workers stunned by layoffs". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 24, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Faust's salary a surprise". [The Harvard Crimson]. November 9, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Layoffs Begin". Harvard Magazine. July 23, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Deserving of the DREAM". Politico. December 8, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Harvard welcomes ROTC back to campus". Boston.com. Retrieved 19 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Faust, Drew (2014-05-14). "Statement on 'Black Mass'".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Harvard University – President Biography
  26. 26.0 26.1 "- Harvard Magazine". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 19 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Maria Sacchetti and, Marcella Bombardieri (2007-02-27). "In Faust, early bold streak". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-09-22. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. O'Leary, Mary E. (May 27, 2008). "Yale graduates 3,100 under sunny skies". New Haven Register.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Dienst, Karin. "Princeton awards five honorary degrees". princeton.edu.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Jacqueline Trescott, "Drew Gilpin Faust, the prize-winning historian and Harvard president, will deliver annual Jefferson Lecture", Washington Post, March 21, 2011.
  32. "The Best American History Essays". macmillan.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Past Winners, Francis Parkman Prize". sah.columbia.edu.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "The 10 Best Books of 2008". New York Times. 3 December 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. "Pulitzer Prize History 2009". Pulitzer Prize. 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Lawrence Summers
President of Harvard University
1 July 2007 – present
Succeeded by
N/A (incumbent)