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Presidential Search

A search is underway for a new president of Harvard University after Lawrence S. Bacow announced he would step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Following is a message from Penny Pritzker, Senior Fellow of Harvard University and chair of the Presidential Search committee, sent to the Harvard community on July 7, 2022. 

Message from Penny Pritzker

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

On behalf of Harvard’s governing boards, I write to invite your thoughts on the search for the next president of Harvard University.

Our search arises in light of President Larry Bacow’s recently announced plans to step down at the end of the 2022-23 academic year. Larry has done a superb job leading Harvard through times of extraordinary challenge and change. As he now enters his final year, we have enormous gratitude for his remarkable leadership.

Important to our process of finding the university’s next president is hearing diverse views from across the Harvard community and beyond. We hope that many of you will share your thoughts. We would especially welcome perspectives on:

  • the key opportunities and challenges likely to face Harvard and higher education in the coming years and the priorities that our next president should have most in mind;
  • the qualities, abilities, and experience most important to seek in the next president;
  • any individuals you believe warrant serious consideration as possible candidates.

Your replies will be an essential means for the search committee to develop an increasingly robust and nuanced picture of Harvard, its current trajectory, and its future aspirations – and a fully informed view of the leadership that can best serve the university in the years to come. Please do take the time to write.

In this search, we will seek a person of high intellectual distinction, with proven qualities of leadership, a devotion to excellence in education and research, a capacity to guide a complex institution through times of change, a talent for advancing progress and collaboration across a wide span of domains, a commitment to embracing diversity along many dimensions as a source of strength, and a dedication to the ideals and values central to our community of learning. We aim to identify a president who, like past Harvard leaders, will bring not only a deep devotion to Harvard’s excellence, but also a passion for how Harvard – through its myriad programs and extraordinary people – can be a force for good in the world.

Under the university’s charter, it is the responsibility of the Harvard Corporation to elect a new president, with the counsel and consent of the Board of Overseers. Consistent with past practice, the search committee will comprise the members of the Corporation other than the president, together with three members of the Board of Overseers. In addition, to inform our deliberations, we will be appointing three advisory committees – of faculty, students, and staff. With their help, we will be gathering input from a wider array of faculty, students, staff, and other academic personnel – as well as from alumni, leaders in higher education, and others well-positioned to offer thoughtful counsel. We aim to reach out broadly to benefit from wide-ranging perspectives on Harvard and higher education as well as to build an inclusive pool of nominations.

For now, you are encouraged to share your thoughts in any of three ways:

  • You may send an email to
  • You may provide answers to the questions posted here.
  • You may address a letter to the Harvard Presidential Search Committee, Loeb House, 17 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

The search committee will hold your replies in confidence.
Many thanks in advance for taking the time to share your perspectives. Your responses will be a valuable source of advice as we seek the best possible new leader for Harvard, at a pivotal time for higher education.

Penny Pritzker
Senior Fellow, Harvard Corporation

Presidential Search Committee

Timothy R. Barakett

Kenneth I. Chenault

Paul Choi

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar

Paul J. Finnegan

Carla A. Harris

Tyler Jacks

Carolyn (Biddy) Martin

Karen Gordon Mills

Diana Nelson

Tracy P. Palandjian

Penny Pritzker (chair)

David M. Rubenstein

Shirley M. Tilghman

Theodore V. Wells, Jr.