Harvard President Drew Faust announced she will step down next year

Historian Drew Gilpin Faust speaks at Harvard University in the Thompson Room of the Barker Center as she is named President of Harvard February 11, 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard appointed Faust as the first woman to lead the oldest college in the U.S. as campuses nationwide struggle with a shortage of female faculty members.Jodi Hilton/Getty ImagesDrew Faust will step down in June 2018.

Harvard University President Drew Faust announced Wednesday that she will step down from her post in June 2018.

In a letter to students, she called it the “right time for transition,” according to the Harvard Crimson.

“It has been a privilege beyond words to work with all of you to lead Harvard, in the words of her alma mater, ‘through change and through storm,'” she wrote, according to a university statement.

Faust, Harvard’s 28th president, has held her role since 2007. Her appointment was groundbreaking — she was the first female president in the university’s nearly 400-year history.

Faust assumed the presidency just as the world experienced a financial crisis, and it led it through the period to eventually set a college-fundraising record of more than $US7 billion.

“Faust’s intelligence, her depth, her warmth, her compassion, and her extraordinary ability to communicate — including her ability to listen to and understand what others are saying — are evidenced in all she does, and in how she leads,” William F. Lee, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, wrote in a letter to the Harvard community, according to a statement from the school.

Harvard will begin a search committee the coming weeks to choose the next president, according to the Crimson. The process could take up to a year.

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