Alison Richard, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, has been forced to deny reports that she is in the running to be the next president of Harvard University.
Before Christmas, Professor Richard was said by The Harvard Crimson , the daily student newspaper, to be on the shortlist to succeed Larry Summers, whose tenure was beset by controversy. Professor Richard's office released a statement that reiterated her commitment to Cambridge and said she did not consider herself a candidate for the Harvard post.
The Crimson noted that her response was more "subdued" than the denial from another suggested candidate, Amy Gutman, head of the University of Pennsylvania, who said: "I will say it, and I will say it for the last time. I am absolutely committed to being Penn's president. I am not interested in any other presidency."
This week, The Crimson claims that Professor Richard is among a handful of people being seriously considered by the appointments committee, which intends to hold final interviews soon and will announce a decison early next month.
In a long profile of Professor Richard, The Crimson reports that her past and present colleagues believe few could top her leadership experience or charisma. Unlike every Harvard president since 1672, Professor Richard does not have a Harvard degree, but her daughter does, the paper notes.
The profile led Cambridge to issue another statement that says Professor Richard "reaffirms her deep and unequivocal commitment" to Cambridge and to staying until her term ends in 2010.