News

Mass. State Rep. Calls on University VP to Increase Transparency for Allston Multimodal Project

News

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow Made $1.1 Million in 2020, Financial Disclosures Show

News

Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp To Step Down

News

81 Republican Lawmakers File Amicus Brief Supporting SFFA in Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit

News

Duke Senior’s Commencement Speech Appears to Plagiarize 2014 Address by Harvard Student

Surprise Fourth Interviewed for Presidency

By Joshua E. Gewolb, Crimson Staff Writer

Former Princeton Dean of the Faculty Amy Gutmann '71 is a top candidate for the Harvard presidency.

The presidential search committee met last week with Gutmann, a dark horse candidate who left her position as dean to return to teaching after a brief two-year tenure.

The meeting took place in New York the morning of Jan. 23, the same day the Boston Globe reported that the search committee had narrowed its list down to three other candidates.

Citing sources "familiar with the search," the newspaper reported that the committee had pared the field down to University of Michigan President Lee C. Bollinger, Harvard Provost Harvey V. Fineberg '67 and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers.

But the search committee is taking Gutmann at least as seriously as these candidates.

Last week's meeting was her second interview with the search committee in two months. She met with a small group of search committee members in New York in early December, sources say.

Experts on the university presidential search process say that while the search committee conducts preliminary interviews with many people, a second interview at this stage of the search indicates strong interest.

"About this time of year was when we were really in the thick of things," said Charles L. Slichter '45, who chaired the search that resulted in the selection of outgoing President Neil L. Rudenstine. "You have at least one person meet them firsthand, then possibly move to a stage where several of the people do. Then we worked down to a small number--four or five people--where almost all of us met with them."

Gutmann, a distinguished political philosopher, has strong Harvard connections. She holds both a bachelor's degree and a doctorate from Harvard, and was a visiting professor at the Kennedy School of Government from 1988-1989. Her daughter, Abigail Gutmann Doyle '02, is a junior in Kirkland House.

In 1995, Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro tapped Gutmann to serve as Princeton's dean of the faculty. She was well regarded as a dean, but left after only two years, saying that she wanted to return to teaching and research.

"What I did not foresee is how much I would miss scholarship and teaching," she said in a 1997 statement. "I now know more vividly than before what it means to have a calling and what happens when one turns aside from it."

But Gutmann's associates say that she is now ready to embrace an all-consuming administrative post.

"I would infer from the length of her deanship nothing about her tenure as possible president of Harvard," said George Kateb,, a professor of politics at Princeton who is close to Gutmann.

Kateb said Gutmann has settled many of the issues that occupied her scholarship and is ready to return to an administrative post.

"She is now in her early 50s, has recently published two books, and is closing in on the substantial contents of another book," he said.

At Princeton, where she has taught since 1976, Gutman is best known for her work with the University Center for Human Values, an interdisciplinary center that brings students, faculty and the public together for discussions of ethical issues. She founded the center in 1990 and has spent almost a decade as its director.

Her scholarship includes two major works co-authored with Harvard faculty: Color Consciouness, which was co-written with Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy K. Anthony Appiah, and Democracy and Disagreement, which was co-written with Associate Provost Dennis F. Thompson.

Gutmann is presently on a year-long sabbatical at Stanford University, where she is working on a book about group identity at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

She flew to New York specifically for the Jan. 23 interview. After meeting with the search committee, Gutmann looked at apartments in New York City, where her husband, political scientist Michael Doyle, is joining the staff of the United Nations.

She is also a likely contender for the top job at Princeton, which is in the midst of a presidential search as well.

Gutmann yesterday refused to confirm or deny that she met with the committee. Harvard spokesman Joseph Wrinn said last week that the University had no comment on the matter.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags