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It's Summers!

Former Secretary of the Treasury Chosen as Harvard's 27th President

By The CRIMSON Staff

Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers has been recommended by the Harvard presidential search committee to be the 27th president of the University.

Members of the Board of Overseers--who must give consent for the final choice to be official--have not yet approved the search committee's decision.

A formal announcement is expected by Monday, which would formally end the nine-month search for a successor to outgoing University President Neil L. Rudenstine, who will step down in June.

The Corporation has also scheduled a meeting with the University deans for Monday.

Although widespread speculation has focused on University of Michigan President Lee C. Bollinger in recent days, the search committee ultimately settled on Summers after weeks of debate.

The Approval

The Board of Overseers still needs to approve the committee's choice.

While their next scheduled meeting is the weekend of March 23 to 25, the board could be called into an emergency session.

The board has not rejected a candidate in modern Harvard history.

Overseers reached recently have said that no preparations for an emergency meeting had been made. But the Overseers could be polled by a telephone conference call if necessary.

However, Charles P. Slichter '45, who sat on the two previous search committees that chose Presidents Derek C. Bok and Rudenstine, said the overseers' consent has historically come at a physical meeting of the Board of Overseers.

"There would be a meeting with the Corporation and the Overseers where the search committee presents the case for a candidate and seeks the board's approval," Slichter said.

In the event of a special meeting, Slichter said, Overseers could be rounded up relatively quickly.

"The overseers are going to consider this a very important function--they would shove things aside [to attend]," he said.

The Man Who Would Be President

Summers was appointed treasury secretary on July 2, 1999, after four years as deputy secretary and two years as undersecretary for international affairs, a post where much of his focus was on international economic and financial policy.

Summers is currently a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank--a post he's held only since Clinton's departure in January.

When he took that post this year, he was appointed to an open-ended position--as opposed to the normal one-year appointments the institute makes.

Summers' post is entirely open-ended, created with the understanding that he is unsure of his long-term plans, Brookings' Director of Economic Studies Robert Litan has said.

Summers has always been a star in the field of economics--in 1983, at the age of 28, he became the youngest tenured professor in Harvard history and in 1993 he won the John Bates Clark Medal--given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40.

From 1983 to 1993, Summers served as a professor of economics at Harvard and from 1979 to 1982 was on the faculty of MIT.

He served as a domestic policy economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1983.

Summers graduated from MIT in 1975 and earned his doctorate from Harvard in 1982. His wife, Victoria, is a tax attorney.

The Process

Summers was one of four finalists the search committee focused on in the last month.

From the first days of the search, Harvard Provost Harvey V. Fineberg '67 was seen as a safe choice who could follow in the footsteps of Rudenstine. Bollinger, seen by many as the front-runner, and Princeton Professor Amy Gutmann '71 rounded out the short list.

The search committee has been meeting since last spring at hotels and private offices around the country, interviewing candidates and discussing their merits. In December, Robert G. Stone Jr. '45, chair of the search committee, announced a winnowed list of about 35 candidates to the Board of Overseers --including Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark '74 and Harvard Medical School Dean Joseph B. Martin.

In recent weeks, the committee has shuttled between hotels in New York and Boston, discussing and interviewing candidates in order to reach a consensus.

The search committee consisted of the six members of the Harvard Corporation and three members of the Board of Overseers.

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