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March 12, 2001

Summers Chosen As Harvard President


A.P. INDEXES: TOP STORIES | NEWS | SPORTS | BUSINESS | TECHNOLOGY | ENTERTAINMENT

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 4:22 a.m. ET

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Richard Zeckhauser, a professor at Harvard University, recalls getting phone calls from Lawrence H. Summers, an old friend who worked as an economist in Washington.

``All the time Larry was in Washington, he always wanted to talk about Harvard,'' Zeckhauser said. ``I'd say, 'You're really into interesting things, you're bailing out Thailand.' And he'd say, 'How are things going at the law school?'''

Now Summers will know more than enough.

After a nine-month, nationwide search, the former Treasury secretary, professor and World Bank executive was named the school's 27th president on Sunday.

``It's good to be home,'' Summers said at a press conference announcing the appointment. ``I accept.''

Summers, 46, will replace Neil H. Rudenstine, who is stepping down in June after a decade as president of the school. Summers is expected to take over July 1.

Rudenstine applauded the selection, saying, ``He cares about other individuals and has a deserved reputation as a mentor. I think it's an excellent choice.''

Although Summers has no experience in university administration, he does have close Harvard ties. He earned his doctorate at the Ivy League school in 1982, and at 28, became one of the youngest faculty members ever granted tenure.

As for his lack of experience in academic administration, he said he is not concerned.

``There are similarities between government and a university,'' he said. ``My intention is to work as hard as I can to be accessible.''

Students protesting outside the press conference Sunday criticized the search committee for what they called a ``covert operation'' that did not consider student views.

Hundreds are expected to gather Monday for a protest in Harvard Yard.

Though he would not outline any specific plans for the future of the school, Summers said he intends to build consensus on campus, improve undergraduate education and maintain academic excellence during his presidency.

He said he also plans to meet with local political leaders to discuss ways Harvard can become a better neighbor to the region.

A native of New Haven, Conn., Summers graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then from Harvard. He taught at MIT from 1979 to 1982, and then served on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers until 1983.

He was named a professor of economics at Harvard and also served as the World Bank's chief economist from 1991 to 1993, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1993 to 1995, then deputy Treasury secretary in 1995.

He was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1999. He has served as a fellow at the Brooking Institution, a Washington-based think-tank, since leaving office.

^------

On the Net: http://www.harvard.edu


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