Lawrence Bacow '72, DUSP professor emeritus, named President of Harvard University

Lawrence Bacow ’72, professor emeritus in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), has been named the next president of Harvard University.

Bacow, who received an undergraduate degree in economics from MIT, began his academic career when he joined the DUSP faculty in 1977. Bacow left MIT in 2001 to become the president of Tufts University, but has remained on the SA+P faculty as professor emeritus. Read a full MIT News story on his appointment to Harvard and career at MIT.

“Larry has left an indelible mark on MIT—and our School in particular—as professor, Chancellor, colleague, and friend,” said Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “Over the past three years, I have turned to Larry several times for advice. It is very rare to find both vision and common sense in one person, and in Larry that combination comes wrapped with humility and humor.”

During his time at MIT, Bacow ultimately became the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies. He also co-founded the MIT Center for Real Estate in 1985. As professor emeritus, he has remained involved with the community, most recently as a member of the DUSP Visiting Committee from 2012-2016.

“Larry and his wife Adele Fleet Bacow (MCP ’77), continued to be strong advocates of the integration urban planning into cultural development, and the creation of public/private partnerships to solve problems and be of service to communities around the world,” said Eran Ben-Joseph, professor and department head of DUSP. “We know that Larry will bring this unique perspective as the next president of Harvard, and we look forward to his many accomplishments.”

The MIT Center for Real Estate, which Bacow led as the inaugural faculty director, was the first such academic center in the United States and the first to offer a Master’s degree in real estate development.

“Larry´s management and leadership skills were evident in his time as the CRE director, and still shape the Center in positive ways,” said Albert Saiz, associate professor of urban economics and current CRE director. “We are extremely thankful for his legacy here and very proud of—but not surprised by—his subsequent accomplishments."

Bacow will assume the Harvard presidency on July 1.