tv Leaders with Lacqua Bloomberg June 30, 2018 5:30am-6:00am EDT
emily: in february 2007, drew faust made history when she was appointed president of one of the most prestigious and storied institutions in the world, becoming the first woman president of harvard university. a civil war historian and author, faust le led the university for a decade, tackling immigration and same-sex social clubs and raising record amounts of capital, all while fighting to prove that an ivy league education is worth the rapidly rising costs. as she passes the torch to her successor, faust opened up about her most recent and next chapter. joining me today on "bloomberg studio 1.0," outgoing harvard
president, drew faust. you have been president for 10 years and this is your last year. how do you feel? is it bittersweet? drew: i feel good about it. i think that jobs like a presidency have a certain rhythm. you move through an agenda and accomplish things and work together with people. it is good to have fresh eyes and somebody with another agenda, carrying -- you hope -- carrying your agenda forward, but nevertheless bringing new approaches and energies to it, so i feel terrific about what we have been able to accomplish. emily: you were the first woman president of harvard. when you took over, emitted made it a point to say, i am a of harvard, not the first woman president. why was it important for you to say what you said? drew: i felt people would label me as special or in a different category, or perhaps imply that i was there only because i was a woman. i did not want that. i wanted to make clear from the
start that i was as real and complete and full a president of harvard as any of my 27 predecessors. but i had an interesting experience in the aftermath of that announcement, which is, i got letters and messages from little girls all over the world saying how much it meant to them that there was a woman president of harvard. so i wanted ultimately to be both the woman president of harvard, who could perhaps be an inspiration or model for women all over the world, but i wanted to make sure that people understood, that i was as much a president of harvard as anyone else. i wasn't a president with an asterisk, or some special status. emily: i would love for all the little girls watching to learn how you got there. you were born in new york, raised in virginia, had three brothers. what was that like? drew: i grew up on a farm and
was always a tomboy. i worked in the barn raising animals and i played war with my brothers, but i was always aware that there were privileges they had that i didn't. that things were expected of me, in terms of wearing a little lacy dresses at appropriate times and exhibiting a demeanor that did not always seem to me consistent with being as noisy and boisterous as my brothers were allowed to be, so i had an astute sense early on that girls were given certain roles, and that society in virginia in the 1950's -- that i was not entirely comfortable being relegated to such a role. emily: what did you believe that women could and couldn't achieve? drew: i did not have many models of women in the workforce or who had careers. my mother didn't finish high school. my grandmother was a force in her own right. but she wasn't someone who
worked outside the home. so i did not have very many indications of what was possible for women. for me,ctation for me when i was going up, was essentially that i would find some man to marry and become a housewife and raise a family. emily: how did you break out of that? drew: i was good in school and i loved school. so as i pursued my educational ambitions, that took me into college, and into a world where different expectations prevailed. i went to an all women's college and i was taught by powerful intellectuals, scholastic and academic women. so i began to see possibilities in their lives that i was able to imagine for my own. emily: you were the first harvard president without a harvard degree. you went to the university of pennsylvania after graduating from bryn mawr with a history degree, then i became history professor. drew: i was a student activist in college, very involved in
politics, civil rights issues, vietnam war protests, and cared a lot about changing the world and having an impact on the world. when i graduated from college i worked in the department of housing and urban development, and i hoped in an idealistic way to move into maybe urban planning or some area that would have only a me to carry on my concerns about public service and changing the world. but i so missed intellectual life and ideas and the kind of debate that is out the heart of a university, so i applied to graduate school and went back and got a phd at penn, which eventually led me to a focal to position it penn that i held for 25 years. emily: you wrote six books. tell me about that. drew: i became a historian of the american south. i began to explore questions, not all that distant from questions that i asked as a
young child growing up in a segregated society. my first book was about people who defended slavery, because i found that so unthinkable and couldn't imagine how people came to convince themselves that this was a position that was justified or acceptable, and i think i was projecting some of my questions about people who had embraced segregation in my own home community, will knows growing up in virginia in the 1950's. what makes people defend the indefensible, and what makes change? emily: you must have strong opinions about how president trump has spoken about these civil war heroes, or not heroes, and the monuments? drew: we are in an interesting moment with civil war memory and some of the challenges made to monuments and accounting for the past. i think it is a very healthy
moment, because to understand what our history has been and to understand that the civil war was one in which a whole part of the country was defending, fighting in favor of slavery. i think that is hidden from us a lot as a nation, and to bring out those divisions and understand them fully and the context in which race relations today operate, is a very important dimension of moving forward as a nation. emily: so you think that these monuments and statues should come down? drew: i think it varies. many of them should. there are others that we perhaps could elucidate or explain. emily: how does one get from civil war historian to first woman president of harvard? drew: it is about being part of the university over a long time, and living a life in a university where i came to realize the wonder of education
and opening minds and contributing to the growth and flourishing of individual talent. and thinking about universities as places where people pursue truth, and challenge accepted wisdom, and devote themselves to learning and scholarship. so i had come to believe that universities are among the most important institutions in our society. i began to be invited to take on leadership roles and move from penn to harvard in 2001, to be ahead of the institute for advanced study, which had just been made a part of harvard university, then from there, i went on to become president. emily: does being the first woman president part of it, the woman part of the equation, does it come with an extra pressure or sense of responsibility? drew: a lot of eyes were on me, and, "would i be able to do it?"
and what would that say about women generally, not just could drew faust do this job, but could a woman do this job? i would just have young women in beaming at me. people that i did not know would give me the biggest smile to say, "you go girl!" throughout i felt i could be the kind of role model that i didn't initially have when i was a child, but found in professors when i got to college and saw women doing extraordinary things. emily: amen to that. you go girl. what do you see as your biggest success? drew: i hope i have made the university a more open place, have expanded access for people from all kinds of backgrounds, points of view, economic circumstances. and made harvard more affordable and more open, but also made it a place that felt more welcoming and inclusive once i got there. a place where women would not
feel they were there on severance, or students from once they got there. or students from less attended backgrounds would feel they are there on the margins, but this was their harvard too, that they own harvard as much as any of the more traditional kinds of students who might be there. drew: we have to make sure we attract the best talent, which is why affordability is so important. ♪ emily: the most often used
measure of success for any president university is the money they raise. you have raised that endowment, it is now about $30 billion. do you think this is the best measure of success for your field? drew: no, i don't at all. it is important to have the resources to accomplish what you want to accomplish, but it depends.
what are you going to use those resources for? of course, what are you going to use those resources for? money is an enabler. it is not a resource in and of itself. the money we generate fund 35% -36% of our operating budget. that is working capital producing income every year that we then applied to the wide range of activities we undertake. research, teaching, financial aid, maintaining our buildings. emily: university endowments are a big chunk of the money that funds venture capital firms and the future companies of silicon valley, and historically, lps and endowments have been very quiet about the strategy. there is a big movement in the tech community to push towards funding diversity and not all
male venture capital firms, for example. is it about making money or who you are giving that money to? drew: we have had a position that has been articulated pretty forcefully in response to the request that we divest from fossil fuel's. we have had a policy that is, our endowment is about funding the core mission of the university, which is teaching and research. it is not a fund meant to be a social intervention fund, and so we have not developed -- we have not divested in response to the pressure is put upon us, and we have not used our endowment as a political weapon or tool. in part, the logic of that is, what are the issues, and how many of them? what are the priorities? would it be fossil fuels, diversity, other kinds of admirable concerns that might distract from what our core business is, which is funding teaching and research?
emily: how do we bring down the cost of higher education? drew: that is something we need to get under control and address more fully. technology is going to help with that. what can we do online to supplement or replace certain parts of instruction so that we can leave to people the parts we absolutely need people for and streamline some of the other parts? i think we will see some of that coming forward. but, constraining costs will be a real challenge for all of higher education. emily: there are a lot of companies trying to disrupt higher education and some say that a harvard degree won't matter by the time my children go to college. how do you respond to that? drew: we have to make sure we attract the best talent, and that is why affordability is so important. the experience of being in that community, living in that community with other students from whom you learn as much as you learn in any class you take,
that is core of what a harvard education really is. so that at its best, the residential dimensions of a harvard education are essential to the full experience of what it can be. and that is not going to be disrupted simply an online experience. you are not bumping into somebody in a corridor and find they challenge you in ways you never expected, or that ways that are different from you expand your understanding of the world. that is such an important part of what happens, both in and outside our classrooms. emily: there is a sense here from the heart of silicon valley that stanford has surpassed harvard, especially when it comes to technology and becoming a feeder for the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. is that a fair assessment? drew: of course not. of course not. [laughter]
we are different institutions, and that is a great strength in american higher education. the fact that there are different emphases and different opportunities that harvard can and institutions like stanford can offer. i don't have a competition here in front of you and say, oh, we are so good at this -- we have a growing presence in technology and fields of engineering. our students concentrating in engineering have tripled in the last 10 years, that is an area that we are paying more attention than we did a decade or two decades ago. but we also have such deep-seated strengths in life sciences, in the humanities, the arts, such a commitment in social sciences, and the endeavors that are not simply involved in technology. we compete very successfully with stanford for students and faculty, so we are very pleased to be harvard, and we expect to
differently to train the worker for tomorrow? drew: differently from? emily: do you think harvard needs to do anything differently to arm workers with the skills necessary to succeed in the modern economy? in drew: there have been changes in how we approach education over the past decade that respond in part to what you are saying. which is, we find our curriculum much more oriented, and our students much more eager for a hands-on experience in a variety of ways. their tent to be more internships or public service opportunities tied into a curricular offerings, doing and thinking are intertwined much more closely.
emily: one of the things i have been following as an alum, is harvard's crackdown on single-sex clubs. harvard has had a long tradition of all-male clubs, and more recently all-female clubs have sprung up. i am curious how your position on this evolved over the course of your tenure at harvard, and how it could change in a big way. drew: the issue came into my consciousness almost as soon as i arrived at harvard as being of the radcliffe institute in 2001, and with a lot of debate and discussion about the exclusion of women in these clubs, and the centrality of the clubs in undergraduate student life. by the time i became president, i had been hearing about these issues for many years. hearing about them also increasingly after i became
president, from the dean of the college, from people head of the undergraduate houses, and word about unsupervised drinking in these independent organizations, the experiences of women, sexual assault in these organizations, and there was a constant drumbeat of issues of inequality and exclusion and student safety related to those clubs. so in 2016, we issued a policy that became a matter of great debate and dispute, but we thought was necessary to welcome women into full citizenship at harvard, and say that these much valued and sought-after spaces from which they were it excluded, should no longer dominate the student life and have a second-class status delivered to women at harvard. emily: so what is the policy as it stands now? drew: the policy is, if you choose to join one of these single-sex social organizations,
there are certain privileges to which you will not have access. those are leadership positions in the recognized student organizations funded in part by harvard college. and that you will not be given dean's recommendations for certain fellowships and other honors. emily: there has been a lot of protest and people who say this unfairly targets women, who historically have not had access to the privileges and resources that men have had, and men who have been part of finals clubs at harvard have had. what is your response to women feel that this disenfranchises them? drew: the protests coming from women is about the single gender women's organizations that grew up to compensate for women's exclusion from the male organizations, but there remains anonymous power in the centrality to student life of
those organizations, there remain many resources. they were still kind of the second-class status within student life. we have been concerned about the issues that made women feel that they needed separate spaces for themselves. so a number of these organizations have said they will continue and allow men to join, but will also have their own activities within the organization. we want to support the activities of women on campus, but we don't think that these separate organizations are the way to accomplish what needs to be done. emily: should an all-female organization be given the same status as an all-male organization, or an african-american organization, for example? drew: they have to admit any student and cannot discriminate on the basis of race or gender, or any other identity-based status they can discriminate on.
the basis of whether you can sing well enough, play football well enough, that kind of differentiation is acceptable. so we have a variety of organizations that students join, like the football team or the glee club, where you have to try out, that it can't be -- but it cannot be derived from an accident of birth. emily: what do you think of your successor, and what do hope that he will accomplish? drew: i am delighted by his appointment. i first got to know larry when i was just becoming president, and he was president of tufts university. he invited me to dinner the first day i was president, july 1 2007. he cooked dinner and talked about being president and offered to help. we became good friends and spent a good bit of time together. i would come to him with problems. when the financial crisis happened, we consulted one another.
him and he joined the harvard corporation, which is the governing body. so i have been the beneficiary of his wisdom in that group ever since, and i am delighted that his experience and wisdom will be carried forward into harvard's next chapter. emily: what do you think will be the biggest challenges for your successor, and for harvard in the political atmosphere we are in today? drew: the cost of higher education and how to make it accessible and affordable. that is something that any president is going to have to attend to. another element is that there were such a suspicion and hostility emerging to higher education, but since it is not serving a broad public, so much more minute in its impact. how do we reach out beyond our own walls and do more and explain how much we are already in doing to improve the lives of people across the country and around the world? that is an important agenda item
for a new president as well. emily: what is next for you? drew: i want to see if i can learn to be a historian again. emily: really. does that mean writing a new book? drew: i hope so. i have ideas for different projects i met pursuit. i have a sabbatical next year, and i will begin to investigate some of those and see what might work. emily: what is your advice to future women leaders, or women who want to be leaders? drew: what a great question. just believe in yourself. don't let anyone cause you to doubt yourself. emily: drew faust, outgoing president of harvard university, thank you for joining us today on "bloomberg studio 1.0." drew: thank you. emily: it is really an honor. ♪ what's a gig of data?
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