Neil L. Rudenstine announced today that he will conclude his tenure as President of Harvard University at the end of the 2000-01 academic year.
During a decade of service, Rudenstine has led the most successful fund-raising campaign in the history of higher education while cultivating collaboration among Harvard’s faculties and schools. Under his leadership, Harvard has dramatically invigorated its resources, launched initiatives in interdisciplinary learning, established the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, expanded its international agenda, embarked on new ventures in information technology and the sciences, and renewed its commitment to keeping Harvard’s doors open to outstanding students from varied backgrounds.
“Serving Harvard, especially during so pivotal a time for higher education, has been an extraordinary privilege and an exhilarating experience,” Rudenstine said. “Every day I am reminded how remarkable a community this is – one that brings together astonishingly talented people to pursue their highest aspirations, to push beyond the edge of what’s known and to discover something new about the world and about themselves. There is no human pursuit of greater value to individuals and to society, and there is nothing more engaging and fulfilling than to be part of it. I look back with deep gratitude for all that our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends have together enabled Harvard to accomplish during this past decade, and I look forward to a full and fruitful year ahead.”
Rudenstine said he plans to step down as of June 30, 2001, precisely 10 years after taking office. “The time seems right,” he said. “With the campaign behind us and new opportunities on the horizon, it will be important to revive the university-wide academic planning process and to take a fresh look at future priorities. It’s only fitting that a new president be in a position both to shape that process and to see it through.”
Rudenstine has guided an institution that is now “stronger and more vibrant, in terms of its people, programs, and resources, than at any time in recent memory,” according to Robert G. Stone Jr., Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation.
“Harvard has benefited immeasurably from Neil Rudenstine’s wisdom, his humanity, his passion for learning, and his extraordinary leadership,” said Stone. “Harvard today is more inclusive, more cohesive, more interdisciplinary, and more engaged with the larger world. Its education and research agenda has never been more ambitious, its appeal to students and scholars has never been greater, its collaborative pathways have never been broader, its physical resources have never been more impressive, and its financial footing has never been more secure.
“No one person deserves credit for all of that, and Neil would be the last person to claim it,” Stone said. “But, more than anyone else this past decade, he has put his mind, heart, and soul into making the whole of Harvard as good and as forward-looking as it can be, and the result is a thriving university with a future even brighter than its past.”