Harvard University president visits Withrow University High School

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Harvard University President Drew Faust visited Withrow University High School students, faculty and administrators on Thursday, January 11, 2018 to talk about the importance of preparing and planning for college, and learn about students’ post-high school dreams and aspirations.

Her visit began in the morning with a brief reception in the Alumni Library. She invited a group of about 20 students to share what they wanted to do after high school and welcomed questions from them about her experiences in higher education.

“As the president of a globally-known university, how do you feel you’re impacting the world?” asked a student. Faust shared some of the global programs Harvard students were involved in, from developments in medicine that saves lives around the world, to innovative breakthroughs in technology, and more. 

Faust shared that she grew up in rural Virginia, helping on her family’s farm by raising livestock. She wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up. As a young girl living in a time of racial segregation and a widely-held belief that women weren’t fit to hold professional positions, she said she often felt frustrated.

“I was always being told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl,” Faust said. “And that infuriated me.”

Faust’s 11-year term as Harvard University president will end on June 30, 2018. A student asked what she planned to do after that.

“After I catch my breath, I would like to get back to being a historian, researching and writing about history that fascinates me,” Faust said, citing her experience as a history professor before joining the Harvard administration.

After the reception, Faust made her way to the auditorium to address a larger group of students. Principal Jack Corey shared in his introductory remarks that Faust specifically chose Withrow to visit because of her interest in the students and her belief that they could achieve their post-high school dreams. In her talk, Faust added that, as a historian, seeing Withrow named as the most beautiful public school in Ohio piqued her interest.

“How do you get from where you are in front of me to where I’m imagining you?” Faust posed to the group. She encouraged them to imagine the next phase of their lives and have it include a college campus, to be relentless in the pursuit of their dreams, but to not dismiss the other opportunities that can pop up along the way.

There came a time for questions and answers. Students asked about Harvard’s rigorous admission requirements, what kinds of services were available to students who may be the first in their family to attend college and more. 

“College is not some abstract thing for our students,” said Dwayne DuBois, assistant principal of Withrow University High School, at the close of the event. “Their futures are theirs to make, and having someone from Harvard deliver that message is very powerful.”

WLWT covered the visit and interviewed President Faust and some students.

Learn more about Withrow University High School at https://withrow.cps-k12.org.

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