“There is never a good time to leave a job like this one, but now seems right to me,” Bacow said in a message to the school community, per The Wall Street Journal. “Through our collective efforts, we have found our way through the pandemic. We have worked together to sustain Harvard through change and through storm.”
The 70-year-old academic expressed a desire to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. Before serving as the 29th president of Harvard for the past five years, Bacow held roles in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Education. He also served as chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and president of Tufts University.
Harvard’s endowment grew from $39 billion in 2018 to $53 billion in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Under Bacow’s leadership, Harvard battled in court over a lawsuit contending that the Ivy League school discriminated against Asian-American students in their admissions process. The Supreme Court took up the case earlier this year.
Bacow also led Harvard through COVID-19 and the political controversies that followed the death of George Floyd. In most instances, Bacow reacted by nodding to the progressive Left.
“Our nation has once again been shocked by the senseless killing of yet another black person — George Floyd — at the hands of those charged with protecting us,” Bacow said in May 2020. “Cities are erupting. Our nation is deeply divided. Leaders who should be bringing us together seem incapable of doing so.”
Bacow also launched an initiative to examine the school’s history with slavery in 2019. A report revealed last month that between the school’s founding in 1636 and the abolition of Massachusetts slavery in 1783, Harvard affiliates held at least 70 slaves. As a result, Harvard pledged $100 million to right past wrongs.
“The truth is that slavery played a significant part in our institutional history,” Bacow announced. “The truth is that the legacy of slavery continues to influence the world in the form of disparities in education, health, wealth, income, social mobility, and almost any other metric we might use to measure equality.”
Over the past two years, Harvard joined other postsecondary institutions in rolling back its standardized testing requirements. High schoolers vying for a spot in the undergraduate class of 2027, 2028, 2029, or 2030 will no longer need to submit scores for the SAT or ACT.
In the wake of President Joe Biden’s victory, Harvard removed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) — a Harvard alumna — from her role on the advisory board of the school’s Institute of Politics over her claims about election integrity.
“My request was not about political parties, political ideology, or her choice of candidate for president,” Dean of the Faculty of the Kennedy School Doug Elmendorf explained in a statement. “Rather, in my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect.”
“In my conversation with Elise, she declined to step aside, and I told her that I would therefore remove her from the IOP’s Senior Advisory Committee at this time,” he added.