Michelle A. Williams, an epidemiologist and professor at the School of Public Health, will lead the school as its next dean beginning in July 2016.

We are still seeing many “firsts” in the year 2016, and higher education is no different.

Harvard University announced Friday that Michelle A. Williams will become the first black person to head a faculty at Harvard and the first female dean of the School of Public Heath, come July.


Williams, who is currently an epidemiologist and professor at the School of Public Health, will take over from David J. Hunter, reports the Harvard Crimson.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s from Tufts University, Williams attended Harvard’s School of Public Health before joining the faculty at the University of Washington.

Since 2011, Williams has served as chair of the epidemiology department at the school, researching infant and maternal health. Williams is currently the principal investigator of three projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and was presented with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring by President Barack Obama five years ago. 

“As an alumna and faculty member, I have witnessed the transformative impact that this institution can have in education, research, and discovery related to the health of communities in need,” Williams said in a statement. “We have an imperative to lead and to serve, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with the School’s faculty, students, staff, and alumni to build on the School’s achievements.”


Read more at the Harvard Crimson.