The Majority Of America’s Top-Ranked Colleges Will Be Led By A Woman Or Person Of Color This Fall

The Majority Of America’s Top-Ranked Colleges Will Be Led By A Woman Or Person Of Color This Fall

Eleven of the top 20 colleges in America, as ranked by Forbes, will be led by a woman or person of color by next fall, marking a milestone in the demographics of the presidencies at the nation’s most highly esteemed institutions. The new leadership profile has emerged following a spate of presidential resignations, retirements and replacements at prestigious universities during the past 18 months.

The eleven institutions are:

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which appointed Sally Kornbluth to be its new president, starting this January;
  • Harvard University, which recently hired Claudine Gay, the first Black person and only the second woman to be named the university’s president, succeeding Lawrence Bacow;
  • The University of California, Berkeley, where Carol Christ has served as chancellor since 2017;
  • Columbia University, where Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, will soon become its first female president;
  • The University of Pennsylvania, headed by M. Elizabeth “Liz” Magill;
  • Dartmouth College, where Sian Leah Beilock will be the first woman to serve as its president;
  • Cornell University, where Martha E. Pollack serves as its 14th president;
  • Brown University, with Christina Paxson as its 19th president;
  • Rice University, which hired Reginald DesRoches to be its president in 2022. He is the first black man to lead that institution;
  • Williams College, where Maud Mandel began her term as president in 2018;
  • The University of California, San Diego, headed by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, an Indian-American scientist, who was appointed chancellor in 2012.

One indication of the magnitude of this leadership change is that six of the eight Ivy League institutions, all of which made Forbes’s top 20, will be led by a woman, the first time in the history of those schools that so many women have served in that capacity.

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