Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust is the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Research Professor at Harvard, where she served as president from 2007-2018.

Faust previously served as founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2001-2007).  Before coming to Radcliffe, she was the Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

She is the author of seven books, including most recently, The New York Times bestseller, Necessary Trouble, Growing Up at Midcentury, published in August 2023. Her earlier book, This Republic of Suffering:  Death and the American Civil War (2008), was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and was awarded the Bancroft Prize, the New-York Historical Society’s American History Book Prize, and recognized by The New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2008.”  This Republic of Suffering is the basis for a 2012 Emmy-nominated episode of the PBS American Experience documentaries titled Death and the Civil War, directed by Ric Burns.

Faust’s honors include awards in 1982 and 1996 for distinguished teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, the Society of American Historians in 1993, and the American Philosophical Society in 2004. In September of 2018 she was awarded the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity by the Library of Congress.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr in 1968, magna cum laude with honors in history, and master’s (1971) and doctoral (1975) degrees in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



Drew Gilpin Faust’s accomplishments are many; she’s a Professor of History at Harvard and was the University’s first female president, serving from 2007 to 2018. But it’s her ability to put history in context that sets her apart. At Harvard, she has called upon the school to recognize its ties with slavery and to encourage affirmative action. In her memoir, Necessary Trouble, she explores these themes from a personal vantage point, examining her conservative Southern upbringing and the questions of equality and justice that have impacted her life’s work.


Photo credit – Stephanie Mitchell