By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. July 25, 2018: The daughter of Caribbean immigrants has been named a dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the prestigious Harvard University.
Professor Claudine Gay, who was born to Haitian immigrant parents in New York, will assume the position on Aug. 15th, Harvard President Larry Bacow announced on Monday, July 23rd.
Professor Gay succeeds Michael Smith in the post, who is stepping down after 11 years.
“It is hard to imagine a more exciting opportunity than to learn from and lead the faculty, staff, and students of the FAS,” commented Gay on the appointment. “I am reminded daily that ours is an extraordinary community — diverse, ambitious, and deeply committed to teaching and research excellence. I look forward to working together to advance our shared mission, one never more important than it is now.”
Professor Gay has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 2006. She is the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African American Studies and the founding chair of Harvard’s Inequality in America Initiative.
“Claudine Gay is an eminent political scientist, an admired teacher and mentor, and an experienced leader with a talent for collaboration and a passion for academic excellence,” Bacow said in announcing the appointment. “She is a scholar of uncommon creativity and rigor, with a strong working knowledge of the opportunities and challenges facing the FAS. I am confident she will lead the FAS with the vitality and the values that characterize universities at their best.”
Gay’s father was a civil engineer and her mother was a registered nurse. They both moved to New York where spent much of her childhood first in New York. The family then moved to Saudi Arabia where her father worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
She received her B.A. in 1992 from Stanford University, where she majored in economics and received the Anna Laura Myers Prize for best undergraduate thesis in economics. Gay received her Ph.D. in government in 1998 from Harvard and won the Toppan Prize for the best dissertation in political science.
Early in her career, Gay served in the Stanford Department of Political Science as an assistant professor (2000‒05) and then a tenured associate professor (2005‒06). In the latter role, she was the department’s director of undergraduate studies and chair of its undergraduate curriculum committee. She was an invited fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 2003‒04.
Widely recognized as one of the nation’s most incisive and imaginative scholars of American political behavior, she was recruited to Harvard as professor of government in 2006. She was additionally appointed as professor of African and African American Studies in 2007 and was named the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor in 2015, when Smith also appointed her as dean of social science.
Active in service to the profession, Gay sits on the boards of both the American Academy of Political and Social Science and Phillips Exeter Academy, while serving as treasurer of the Midwest Political Science Association. In addition, she serves on the fellowship selection committee for the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the research advisory council of the American Political Science Association, the APSA presidential task force on women’s advancement in political science, the faculty advisory committee for the Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy program, and the diversity committee of Visions in Methodology. She is a member of the editorial boards of both the American Political Science Review and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.