Lee C. Bollinger, President of the University

President of the University

  • University of Oregon, B.S., 1968
  • Columbia, J.D., 1971

Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University’s 19th president in 2002 and is the longest serving Ivy League president. Under his leadership, Columbia stands again at the very top rank of great research universities, distinguished by comprehensive academic excellence, an innovative and sustainable approach to global engagement, the largest capital campaign in Ivy League history, and the institution’s most ambitious campus expansion in over a century.

Bollinger is Columbia’s first Seth Low Professor of the University, a member of the 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 students. His latest book, The Free Speech Century, co-edited with Geoffrey R. Stone, was published in the fall of 2018 by Oxford University Press.

Bollinger is a director of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company) and serves as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board. From 2007 to 2012, he was a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he also served as Chair from 2010 to 2012.

From 1996 to 2002, Bollinger was the President of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He led the university’s historic litigation in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, Supreme Court decisions that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. He speaks and writes frequently about the value of racial, cultural, and socio-economic diversity through columns, interviews, and appearances around the country and across the world.