William C. Kirby

  • Harvard University

William C. Kirby is Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University. He is a University Distinguished Service Professor. Kirby serves as Chairman of the Harvard China Fund, the University’s academic venture fund for China, and Faculty Chair of the Harvard Center Shanghai, Harvard’s first University-wide center located outside the United States.A historian by training, Kirby examines contemporary China’s business, economic, and political development in an international context. His current projects include case studies of trend-setting Chinese businesses and a comparative study of higher education in China, Europe, and the United States. His most recent book is Can China Lead? (Harvard Business Review Press).At Harvard, Kirby has served as Chair of the History Department, Director of the Harvard University Asia Center, Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.As Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, he led Harvard’s largest school, with 10,000 students, 1,000 faculty members, 2,500 staff, and an annual budget of $1 billion. He initiated major reforms in undergraduate education in Harvard College; enhanced Harvard’s international studies at home and abroad; increased substantially financial aid in the College and in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; supported the growth of the Division (now School) of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and oversaw the construction of major new buildings in the Life Sciences, Engineering, and the Arts. During his tenure, the Faculty expanded at its most rapid rate since the 1960s. Kirby holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the Freie Universität Berlin (Dr. Phil. honoris causa), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Dr. Phil. honoris causa), and Hong Kong Baptist University (Dr. Humanities honoris causa).