Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University’s nineteenth president in 2002. He is Columbia’s first Seth Low Professor of the University, a member of the Columbia Law School faculty, and one of the country’s foremost First Amendment scholars. Each fall semester, he teaches “Freedom of Speech and Press” to Columbia undergraduate and graduate students. His most recent book, “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century,” has placed Bollinger at the center of public discussion about the importance of global free speech to continued social progress.
From November 1996 to 2002, Bollinger was the President of the University of Michigan, where he also had served as a law professor and dean of the law school.
He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is widely published on legal and constitutional issues involving free speech and press, and his books include: “The Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America”; “Images of a Free Press”; and “Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era”. In January 2010, “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide Open: A Press for a New Century” was published by Oxford University Press.
Bollinger has received the National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund for his leadership on affirmative action. He also received the Clark Kerr Award, the highest award conferred by the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, for his service to higher education, especially on matters of freedom of speech and diversity. He is the recipient of 10 honorary degrees from universities in this country and abroad.
Bollinger is a director of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company), serves as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and is a Trustee of The Kresge Foundation.
After graduating from the University of Oregon and Columbia Law School, Bollinger served as law clerk for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Chief Justice Warren Burger on the United States Supreme Court. He joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 1973.