BOSTON – Harvard University could be about to name its first female president, as the governing board charged with vetting candidates has narrowed its search to a single one, historian Drew Gilpin Faust, according to published reports.
The Harvard Corporation was expected to recommend Faust to the school's Board of Overseers, an alumni group that has final say, at a meeting on Sunday, multiple sources told The Boston Globe and The Harvard Crimson in Friday's editions.
Both newspapers said Faust was the only remaining candidate.
"We don't comment on the search process," Harvard spokesman John Longbrake told The Associated Press early Friday.
Faust, an expert on the Civil War and the American South, has been dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study since 2001 and also teaches in the history department. She has never run a major institution and did not attend Harvard, which the university usually prefers.
Faust would succeed Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, who resigned in June after a five-year tenure marked by conflicts with faculty. Summers' comments two years ago that genetic differences between the genders may explain the dearth of women in top science jobs drew sharp criticism and sparked calls from some alumni for the school to name a female president.
In January, another top candidate, Thomas R. Cech, the head of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Nobel Prize winner, asked the search committee to remove him from consideration.
In the wake of Summers' comments about women scientists, Faust oversaw the creation of two faculty task forces that examined gender diversity at the Cambridge campus.
Faust has a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College and received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught for many years.
Faust declined comment through a spokesman, The Boston Globe said.