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A woman for Harvard

The week's news at a glance.

Cambridge, Mass.

For the first time in its 371-year history, Harvard University this week named a woman, Drew Gilpin Faust, as its president. Faust, a 59-year-old historian of the South and the Civil War, succeeds Lawrence Summers, whose presidency began to unravel in 2005, after he suggested that women might lack an “intrinsic aptitude” for the hard sciences. Faust heads the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, a small Harvard think tank. Some colleagues questioned her ability to manage a large organization, but she seems to possess the necessary tact. Referring to her predecessor’s tumultuous tenure, she said Summers’ “powerful thinking and impatience for results cleared the way for important new initiatives.”

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