Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18 1947) is an American historian, college administrator and the first female president of Harvard University. Faust, the former Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is also Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard.
Faust was born in New York City and raised in Clarke County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. She is the daughter of Catharine Mellick and McGhee Tyson Gilpin. Faust comes from a well-connected family of business and political leaders. Her great-grandfather, Lawrence Tyson, was a U. S. Senator from Tennessee during the 1920s.
Graduating from Concord Academy, Concord, Massachusetts in 1964, Faust earned her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, A.M. and Ph.D. in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. In the same year, she joined the Penn 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 five books, most notably Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, for which she won the Society of American Historians Francis Parkman Prize in 1997.
In 2001, Faust was appointed the first dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the successor to Radcliffe College.
Faust is a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. She serves on the educational advisory board of the Guggenheim Foundation. She is divorced from her first husband, Stephen Faust and is married to Charles E. Rosenberg, a historian of medicine also at Harvard.
On June 30, 2006, then-President of Harvard Lawrence H. Summers resigned after a whirlwind of controversies (stemming partially from comments he made on a possible correlation between gender and success in certain academic fields). Derek Bok, who had served as President of Harvard from 1971–1991, returned to serve as an interim president until a permanent replacement could be found.
On 8 February, 2007, The Harvard Crimson announced that Faust had been selected as the next president. Following formal approval by the university's governing boards, her appointment was made official three days later.
During a campus news conference on campus Faust stated, "I hope that my own appointment can be one symbol of an opening of opportunities that would have been inconceivable even a generation ago". But she also added, "I'm not the woman president of Harvard, I'm the president of Harvard."
On October 12, 2007, Faust took her installation address as the president of Harvard at Cambridge, Mass. In the inauguration, she said "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."