Harvard University has reportedly narrowed its hunt for a president to a handful of candidates: three Harvard administrators and a Nobel laureate, writes Jon Marcus.
Two of the finalists are female: Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School and former Clinton Administration policy adviser; and Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Appointing a female president could help heal the rifts caused by former president Lawrence Summers, who resigned last summer after creating a storm by questioning women's ability in maths and science.
Also on the shortlist, according to Harvard student newspaper The Crimson , are Steven Hyman, Harvard Provost; and the only outsider, Thomas Cech, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a winner of a Nobel prize in chemistry.
Previous reports put Cambridge University vice-chancellor Alison Richard in the running, but Professor Richard affirmed her "deep and unequivocal commitment" to serve out her term at Cambridge, which ends in 2010.