01/31/2014 01:02 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2014

Harvard Business School Dean Apologizes To All Women

Harvard business school Dean Nitin Nohria apologized Monday for the way his college treated women over the past 51 years.

According to Poets & Quaints, Nohria told a crowd of alumni and guests in San Francisco that women at Harvard felt "disrespected, left out, and unloved by the school. I'm sorry on behalf of the business school. The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better."

"More than anything else, you have my deep and solid commitment that the entire school will be more open to and encouraging to women," Nohria said. "These ideas will only be quaint unless we work relentlessly to improve things."

The event was honoring 100 Harvard alumnae by the HBS Association of Northern California for their impact on business and the community, according to Poets & Quaints.

Nohria vowed to increase the number of women as protagonists in Harvard case studies and noted 41 percent of this year's entering class of MBAs were women, up from just 25 percent in the class of 1985. "Everyone of those women deserve to be at Harvard Business School," he said.

Harvard began admitting women to its business school in 1963. It faced scrutiny as of late thanks to a lengthy New York Times piece in 2013, which detailed how female students and faculty allegedly faced a grading bias and other incidents of sexism. The university does appear to be making progress, but as the Harvard Crimson notes, it still faces difficulties retaining and attracting female professors.

Reena A. Jadhav, a 1998 Harvard MBA graduate, remains hopeful that each step the business school takes will make a positive impact.

"I really believe that all of these little things will together add up to create a positive change for women at work," Jadhav told the Crimson. "I think it needs to happen at every level, because nobody talks about this."