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For the First Time, Black Women Will Run Four Schools at Harvard University

Claudine Gay, Michelle A. Williams, Bridget Long, Tomiko Brown, Black women, Harvard university
Claudine Gay, upper left, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, upper right, Michelle A. Williams, lower left, Bridget Terry-Long, lower right

Aug. 15, 2018, will mark a historic day for Harvard University. For the first time, four of its schools will be led by Black women, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Professor Claudine Gay was appointed to be dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the ivy league school. She will be the first woman and the first African-American to head the school, per the Crimson.

“If my presence in this role affirms someone’s sense of belonging and ownership, the same way Drew’s appointment affirmed my own sense of belonging, then I think that’s great,” Gay told the Crimson. “And for people who are sort of beyond our gates, if this prompts them to look again and look anew at Harvard and imagine new possibilities for themselves, I think that’s great as well.”

Gay will join Michelle A. Williams, who was appointed as dean of the School of Public Health in 2016, Bridget Terry-Long who became head of the Graduate School of Education in April and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who in May was appointed the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

“To now be moving into a phase of Harvard’s life where people who don’t meet that profile are now empowered to advance Harvard, it just signals that Harvard is getting ready for a new future for itself and for the country and for the world,” said John S. Wilson, a senior adviser and strategist on Harvard’s president on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Adding that their appointments were “significant.”

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