Drew Faust, the 28th President of Harvard University, visited the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on April 24, 2018 as part of the Voices in Leadership series. (Photo by Sarah Sholes/Harvard Chan School.)

Reflecting on Inclusion and Activism with Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust

As she finishes her tenure as President of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust is thinking about history — the country’s, the university’s, and her own. In addition to being President, Faust is the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She previously served as founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She has written six books on the American Civil War.

Watch President Faust’s full talk for the Voices in Leadership series at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on April 24, 2018.

Prove your value

As the face of a well-known university, Faust has experienced her share of criticism. She recognizes that many people are disillusioned by universities’ opacity related to costs, partnerships, and strategy.

Lead through inclusion

Faust has sought to develop a university environment that invites a range of perspectives and voices. Faust says, diversity does not just refer to gender and race. It means welcoming more people who are first-generation college students, who represent a range of sexualities and gender identities, and who run the spectrum of political affiliations. Faust wanted to ensure that these students are not only accepted to Harvard, but also feel welcome when they arrive.

Drew Faust, right, the 28th President of Harvard University, with Dean Michelle Williams, left, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on April 24, 2018, as part of the Voices in Leadership series. (Photo by Sarah Sholes / Harvard Chan School.)

Know the power of words and example

Dean Williams reflected on how the motto of the Task Force, “Pursuing Excellence on a Foundation of Inclusion,” carries power by making inclusion a condition for academic excellence.

Seek to build a new world

The first woman to become President of Harvard University, Faust has always had a desire to challenge the status quo.

Drew Faust, right, the 28th President of Harvard University, answered questions from Harvard Chan student Aleesha Shaik, left, on April 24, 2018, as part of the Voices in Leadership series. (Photo by Sarah Sholes / Harvard Chan School.)

Retain your purpose

Faust says that even though she has recognized more nuance to issues as she has gotten older, she tries to maintain the same passion she expressed in her youth.

Voices in Leadership webcast series enhances leadership, connecting high-profile leaders with the Harvard School of Public Health community. hsph.me/voices