In the news: Harry J. Elam, Jr.
Harry J. Elam, Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford University, has been selected as the 16th president of Occidental College. As Stanford’s vice provost for the past decade, Elam has been responsible for nearly all policies and programs relating to the university’s 7,200 undergraduate students. The Occidental board unanimously selected Elam at the conclusion of a national search, advised by a search committee drawn from all segments of the college community. Elam will begin his tenure at Occidental on July 1.
A member of the Stanford faculty since 1990, when he joined what is now the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, Elam is an award-winning teacher and internationally renowned scholar who has served in a variety of senior administrative positions. As vice provost, he helped lead a major rethinking of Stanford’s undergraduate curriculum as well as a separate effort to create a new vision for the university’s student residences.
Having grown up during court-ordered school desegregation in Boston, Elam also is a leader on issues of diversity and inclusion. Among his many efforts at Stanford, he created the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, initiated a summer bridge program for first-year students from under-resourced high schools and designed a program to increase the number of students of color pursuing graduate degrees in STEM fields.
A graduate of Harvard College, Elam earned his doctorate in the dramatic arts at UC Berkeley. He is the author and co-editor of seven books including the award-winning “The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson,” and dozens of journal articles and book chapters. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. The Association for Theatre in Higher Education awarded him its highest recognition, the Distinguished Scholar Award, and he is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the American Society for Theatre Research. At Stanford he has been awarded six different teaching awards.