Leon Botstein

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President of Bard College
Nominated By: Jeanne Folley Butler

An innovative voice in American higher education, Leon Botstein has been president of Bard College since 1975. Botstein is a leading advocate of progressive education. He is the author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture and Judentum und Modernitaet and has published widely on music, education, history, and culture. In his work, he has sought to recast undergraduate liberal arts education in a new model that contributes to the character of culture and public life in the service of freedom and democracy. He graduated at age 16 from the High School of Music and Art in New York, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in music history. He credits David Landes and Harold Farberman as his mentors.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students. President Botstein also serves as the Board Chairman of the Central European University and is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. A member of the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Botstein has received the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award, the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Harvard University’s Centennial Award, and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art. Dr. Botstein has recorded major classical and contemporary works with the leading orchestras of the world. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and The Compleat Brahms (1999), and co-editor of Jews and the City of Vienna, 1870-1938 (2004).

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