Harvard University welcomed its newest president, Claudine Gay, on Friday. She is the first black woman and second woman to lead the university.
“I stand before you today, humbled by the prospect of leading Harvard, strengthened by the trust you have placed in me, and empowered by your own commitment to this extraordinary institution and to the common cause of higher education,” said Ms. Gay . She delivered her speech to an audience sheltering from the rain under a sea of umbrellas.
“I stand before you today humbled by the prospect of leading Harvard, strengthened by the trust you have placed in me, and energized by your own commitment to this unique institution and to the common cause of higher education,” she said.
She also spoke about courage. ‘The courage of this university – our determination, against all odds – to question the world as it is and to imagine and make a better one: it is what Harvard was made to do,” Ms. Gay said.
She also said Harvard should celebrate diversity as a force that deepens and strengthens campus life.
“We embrace diversity – of backgrounds, lived experiences and perspectives – as an institutional imperative,” she said. “When we do so, it is not with a secret hope for calm or consensus. It is because we believe in the value of dynamic engagement and the learning that occurs when ideas and opinions collide.”
Claudine Gay is the thirtieth president since Harvard University was founded in 1640.