Lawrence H. Summers
Lawrence H. Summers has been named the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. (Staff file photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

Outgoing Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers has been named Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University effective July 1, 2006.

The University Professorships, first created by the President and Fellows in 1935, are chairs intended for “individuals of distinction … working on the frontiers of knowledge, and in such a way as to cross the conventional boundaries of the specialties.” The University Professorship is Harvard’s most distinguished professorial position. There are currently 19 active University Professors; this new appointment will bring the number to 20.

“I am very excited about the prospect of reflecting, writing, and speaking on a range of economic and international policy questions,” said Summers. “I look forward to the opportunity that a University Professorship provides to explore issues that cut across traditional boundaries.”

Summers, who will have offices at both the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Business School, will be on sabbatical for the 2006-2007 academic year. He will resume teaching and research responsibilities at Harvard in the fall of 2007.

“We are delighted to have Larry join us,” said Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood. “He is a world-class intellect with unparalleled experience. He epitomizes the spirit of rigorous thinking, wisdom and public service that the University and the Kennedy School aspire to. And we are particularly pleased that he will be part of the growing collaboration between the Kennedy School and the Business School.”

Jay Light, Dean of Harvard Business School, said: “Larry is a deeply committed – and gifted and popular – teacher, and the scale and scope of his knowledge is extraordinary. Moreover, he epitomizes the University Professor’s role as a scholar whose work transcends individual schools and departments. We know our students and faculty will benefit from Larry’s world-class expertise as an economist, and from his broad experience in the public and private sectors.”

Summers began his career at Harvard as a graduate student; he was awarded a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1982. In 1983, he joined the faculty as a professor of economics, one of the youngest individuals in recent history to be named as a tenured member of the University’s faculty. He was named Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy in 1987. In 1993 he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40. Before being named Harvard’s 27th president in 2001, Summers held senior positions at the World Bank, and served as Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration.