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Harvard names Mich. native as president

Janet Lorin and Michael McDonald

Harvard University appointed board member Lawrence Bacow as the school’s 29th president, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust, who’s stepping down after 11 years on the job.

Bacow, 66, a former president of Tufts University and chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will take over on July 1, Harvard said Sunday in an emailed statement.

A native of Pontiac, Michigan, Bacow attended MIT and received three degrees from Harvard, including a law degree and doctorate in public policy. The appointment concludes a search that started last year, when Faust, the first woman to serve as the school’s president, announced her decision to step down. Bacow joined the board during her tenure.

“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution – and to succeed Drew Faust, whom I have been privileged to count as a friend and an inspiration since we met over a decade ago,” Bacow said in the statement.

Read more: Harvard president will step down in 2018 after 11 years

“The Harvard I have known has always stood for at least three things: the pursuit of truth, an unwavering commitment to excellence, and opportunity,” he said. “In a nation divided, these guiding ideals have never been more important. We should never shy away from nor be apologetic about affirming our commitment to making the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship and our commitment to truth, excellence, and opportunity for all.”

Faust, 70, a Civil War historian, succeeded Larry Summers, an economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary who resigned in 2006 following a series of controversies including comments about women’s aptitude for science and engineering. She led Harvard through a period of record fundraising and its effort to bounce back from the financial impact of the 2008 financial crisis, especially on its lagging endowment.

Harvard’s $37.1 billion endowment, the world’s biggest, gained 8.1 percent in the fiscal year ended June 30, underperforming peers.

William F. Lee, the chair of Harvard’s presidential search committee, described Bacow as one of the most admired and effective leaders in American higher education and called his appointment a pivotal moment.

“Such a time calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking, and disciplined execution,” Lee said in the statement. "Larry will provide just that."