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Columbia University Appoints Its First Woman President | Inside Higher Ed


Nemat “Minouche” Shafik will become the 20th president of Columbia University this year, making her the first woman to lead the institution. She will assume the job on July 1, replacing Lee C. Bollinger.

An Egyptian-born economist, Shafik, 60, has served as president of the London School of Economics and Political Science since 2017. She has also worked as a vice president at the World Bank, a deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund and deputy governor of the Bank of England.

In a letter to the Columbia community announcing the appointment, Jonathan Lavine, chair of the Board of Trustees, called Shafik “the perfect candidate: a brilliant and able global leader, a community builder, and a preeminent economist who understands the academy and the world beyond it.”

What sets her apart, he said, “is her unshakable confidence in the vital role institutions of higher education can and must play in solving the world’s most complex problems.”

When Shafik takes Columbia’s helm in July, six of the eight Ivy League institutions will be headed by women. She is scheduled to start on the same day that Sian Beilock becomes the first woman president of Dartmouth College and Claudine Gay the first Black president (and second woman) to lead Harvard University. They join Christina Paxson at Brown University, Martha Pollack at Cornell University and M. Elizabeth Magill at the University of Pennsylvania.



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