- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. plans to step down as chairman of the university’s African and African American Studies Department next year, but intends to remain at the university.

Mr. Gates, 54, made the announcement Friday, saying he will leave the chairman’s position July 1, 2006. He intends to continue teaching and directing Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

“Fifteen years is long enough for any chair,” Mr. Gates said. “I would never leave the chairmanship if I thought the department was vulnerable in any way.”

When Mr. Gates was recruited from Duke University in 1991, the program had only two professors. The program lost two high-profile faculty members in 2002, when Cornel West and K. Anthony Appiah both left for Princeton.

Mr. Gates once openly considered following the two to Princeton, but remained at Harvard to rebuild when university President Lawrence H. Summers pledged more support for the department.

“I am on excellent terms with President Summers and expect to work with him for a very long time,” Mr. Gates said.

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