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Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Appoints Interim Provost

Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning has been appointed as interim provost.

The Harvard Crimson reports that Manning was appointed by Interim University President Alan M. Garber last Friday, a move that further solidifies Manning’s position as a frontrunner in the next presidential search. Manning, who begins his tenure as interim provost on March 14, was previously a finalist in Harvard’s last presidential search.

In taking on his new role as interim provost, Manning will take a leave of absence as HLS dean. His new role will make him the school’s second most powerful administrator. Former HLS Deputy Dean John C.P. Goldberg, a professor of general jurisprudence, will become the Law School’s interim dean while Manning serves as provost.

“He is an ideal individual to advance several key University initiatives, including forthcoming efforts to explore institutional neutrality and how best to nurture an atmosphere of open inquiry, respectful dialogue, and academic freedom essential to academic excellence,” Garber says in a university-wide email.


Manning joined the Harvard faculty in 2004, in part due to an effort by then-HLS Dean Elena Kagan to increase the representation of conservative perspectives. His tenure saw steady progression, as he was subsequently appointed as HLS deputy dean in 2013, followed by the role of HLS dean in 2017.

While Manning graduated from both Harvard College and the Law School, he is a conservative among Harvard’s largely liberal faculty.

After graduating from HLS in 1985, Manning clerked at the United States Court of Appeals before serving as a law clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin G. Scalia. He shares Scalia’s conservative philosophy of emphasizing the literal interpretation of the constitution over historical intent.

“He’s known for adopting a particular methodology in his work which is a methodology that usually appeals to people who are a little bit right of center,” HLS professor Michael J. Klarman says.

In a comment published by the Harvard Gazette, Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker highlighted Manning’s “deep integrity, wisdom, and experience.”

“In John, President Garber has chosen an interim provost who will work tirelessly with passion and purpose to support and advance Harvard’s teaching and research mission and its foundational commitment to excellence and our commitment to learn and grow from these challenging times,” she says.

Sources: The Harvard Crimson, The Harvard Crimson

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