On Friday, Feb. 19, Harvard University announced that epidemiologist and professor at the School of Public Health, Michelle A. Williams, will be the University’s first black person to become the head of a faculty.
Willams will begin her new position in July, succeeding David J. Hunter, who has held the position for the past six months in place of Julio Frenk, who is currently the President of the University of Miami. “I know she will approach her new role with the intelligence, dedication, integrity, and humane spirit that she brings to all she does,” says University President Drew G. Faust in a statement.
Williams earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton, her master’s degree at Tufts, and attended the School of Public Health. She was later hired onto the staff at the University of Washington. Since 2011, she has served as the chair of Harvard’s epidemiology department at the School of Public Health, researching infant and maternal health.
Beginning in January, Harvard medical students have been petitioning the lack of diversity within the student and faculty body. Appointing Williams has come not only during black history month but is also in line with the demands of the student body.
In the wake of Black History Month, please note that next month, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison (the first black woman to receive the Nobel prize in literature) will be giving a series of six free lectures at Harvard. She is the Norton Professor of 2016.
*Inserts standing ovation*
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