Lee C. Bollinger

United States  |  President and Seth Low Professor, Columbia University


Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University’s 19th president in 2002 and is the longest serving Ivy League president. He is Columbia’s first Seth Low Professor of the University, a member of the Law School faculty and one of the nation’s preeminent First Amendment scholars. Bollinger is the author or co-editor of numerous books on freedom of speech and press, including National Security, Leaks and Freedom of the Press: The Pentagon Papers Fifty Years On (2021), Regardless of Frontiers: Global Freedom of Expression in a Troubled World (2021), and The Free Speech Century (2018).

President Bollinger is a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board and a co-founder of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, a center devoted to defending speech and press freedoms in the digital age through litigation, scholarship, and public education. In 2014, he established Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, a project that brings together experts and activists with faculty and students to advance understanding of international norms that protect expression and the free flow of information.

In 2017, Bollinger founded Columbia World Projects, an initiative that mobilizes the university’s researchers and scholars to work with governments, organizations, businesses, and communities to tackle global challenges. In 2020 he announced the University’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and in 2021 he launched the Columbia Climate School, the first new School at the University in 25 years.

As president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger led the school’s landmark civil rights litigation in Grutter v. Bollinger, a Supreme Court decision that for the first time upheld the constitutional right of colleges and universities to engage in affirmative action to advance diversity in higher education. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Bollinger is also the recipient of multiple honorary degrees from universities in the United States and abroad.

Bollinger was an event speaker at the Dialogue.

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