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Harvard's 1st Female President Stepping Down After 11 Years

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    Harvard's 1st Female President Stepping Down After 11 Years
    FILE - Joe Raedle/Getty Images
    FILE - Harvard University students walk through the campus on February 21, 2006. Harvard hosts the Ig Nobels, a spoof on the Nobel Prizes.

    Harvard University's president says she is stepping down next year after more than a decade at the helm.

    President Drew Faust announced Wednesday that she will leave her post after the upcoming academic year. She was the first woman to lead the university.

    She said in a letter to students and faculty that "it will be the right time for the transition to Harvard's next chapter, led by a new president."

    Faust is a historian of the American Civil War and plans to take a sabbatical and continue her scholarship.

    Hired in 2007, she is credited with fostering collaboration among Harvard's academic factions and being a champion of the arts and sciences.

    But she has also faced challenges, including the recently lagging performance of Harvard's $35.7 billion endowment.

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