Join our newsletter!
Receive as HTML?

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger

Lee C. Bollinger became the 19th President of Columbia University on June 1, 2002.

Bollinger is President of Columbia University in New York City and also serves as a member of the faculty of the Law School at Columbia. Bollinger is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Columbia Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review.

After serving as law clerk for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Chief Justice Warren Burger on the United States Supreme Court, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School in 1973.

In 1987 Bollinger was named the Dean of the University of Michigan Law School, a position he held for seven years. He became Provost of Dartmouth College and Professor of Government in July 1994 and was named the twelfth President of the University of Michigan in November 1996. His primary teaching and scholarly interests are focused on free speech and First Amendment issues. He has published numerous books, articles, and essays in scholarly journals on these and other subjects. Three highly acclaimed contributions to First Amendment literature include Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2001, Images of a Free Press, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1991, and The Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America, published by Oxford University Press in 1986.

A leading scholar on free speech and First Amendment issues, he is the author of numerous books, articles and essays on these subjects, and he teaches an undergraduate course, “Freedom of Speech and Press” at Columbia each year. Bollinger is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. He is a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a trustee of the Kresge Foundation, and a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company of Great Britain.

President Bollinger is the recipient of many awards. For his national leadership in defending affirmative action in higher education, he 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, Inc. For his service to higher education, especially on matters of freedom of speech and diversity, he was given the Clark Kerr Award, the highest award conferred by the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley.

President Bollinger was born in Santa Rosa, California, and raised there and in Baker, Oregon. He is married to Jean Magnano Bollinger, who graduated from the University of Oregon and received a master's degree from Columbia University. She is an artist with a studio in New York City. They have two children—a son, Lee, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and University of Michigan Law School; and a daughter, Carey, a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.