Facts about Drew Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust is 76 years old
Best known as: The first woman president of Harvard University


Drew Gilpin Faust Biography

Name at birth: Catharine Drew Gilpin

Drew Gilpin Faust made history in 2007 when she became the first female president in the 371-year history of Harvard University.

Drew Gilpin Faust is a veteran Ivy League professor and administrator, known especially for her work on the history of the American South. According to her official Harvard biography, Faust “received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr in 1968, magna cum laude with honors in history, and her master’s degree (1971) and doctoral degree (1975) in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.”

She took a job on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and spent 25 years as a professor of history, also leading the women’s studies program there. She became dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2001, and was somewhat of a surprise choice for the post of president after the high-profile and controversial Lawrence Summers stepped down in 2006. Faust stepped down as president in 2018, and was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow. Faust officially retired from teaching in 2023, when she was 75 years old.

Her books include James Henry Hammond and the Old South (1982) and Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996).

Extra credit

Drew Gilpin Faust was the 28th president in Harvard history… She took office on July 1, 2007, but was formally installed in a ceremony on October 12, 2007… She was born in New York but grew up in the Shenendoah Valley of Virginia… She married the historian Charles Rosenberg in 1980. They have a daughter, Jessica (b. 1982). She is the stepmother to Leah Rosenberg, from her husband’s previous marriage… Her first husband, Stephen E. Faust, became a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Maryland; they were married from 1968-76… Former Harvard president Derek Bok served as interim president of Harvard between the departure of Lawrence Summers in 2006 and Drew Gilpin’s Faust’s selection in 2007… The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies is the successor to Radcliffe College, the women’s school which merged with Harvard in 1999.


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