Claudine Gay’s tenure as Harvard President ended following her resignation in early 2024. Gay faced intense scrutiny in December 2023 over her handling of antisemitism on campus. “It has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign, so the community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than the individual,” Gay said in a statement.
Claudine Gay is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who met in New York City
Claudine Gay was born in New York City to Haitian immigrants. Gay’s parents met in New York City as students and started a family. She spent her childhood in the city before moving to Saudi Arabia, where her dad worked as an engineer for the U.S. Army. Following the announcement that Gay would take over as Harvard President, she addressed her parents’ insistence on a good education:
“My parents believed that education opens every door, but of course they gave me three options: I could become an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer, which I’m sure that other kids of immigrant parents could relate to. Becoming an academic was not what my parents had in mind.”
Gay was the first person of color appointed president of the institution. Harvard Student Afomia Hunde told CBS News it was sad to see Gay resign: “It was good to have someone of a similar [ethnicity] to sort of represent. Her being the Harvard president was something that was momentous and historical, and I’m just sad she felt the need to step down.”