The colloquium panel consists of members of the Board of the Tanner Lectures on Human Values, who are the leaders of some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.
Mark Schlissel, President, University of Michigan
Mark Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution. He became president in July 2014.
A graduate of Princeton University with an AB in biochemical sciences, Schlissel earned both MD and PhD degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
He began his career as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins in 1991, then moved to the department of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 as associate professor, advancing to full professor in 2002.
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Schlissel’s research has contributed to a detailed understanding of genetic factors involved in the production of antibodies, and how mistakes in that process can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. Schlissel was Berkeley’s dean of biological sciences and held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry until his appointment as provost of Brown University in 2011.
Schlissel was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigators in 1988 and the American Association of Physicians in 2013. Also in 2013, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge
In 2010, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz became the 345th vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was appointed chief executive of the UK’s Medical Research Council in 2007, and from 2001 to 2007 was at Imperial College London, where he rose to become deputy rector.
Borysiewicz attended the Welsh National School of Medicine, later taking up clinical and research posts in London. In 1988, he came to Cambridge as a lecturer in medicine, and was a fellow of Wolfson College. He went on to become a professor of medicine at the University of Wales.
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As deputy rector of Imperial College, Borysiewicz was responsible for the academic and scientific direction of the institution, particularly the development of interdisciplinary research among engineering, physical sciences and biomedicine.
Borysiewicz was knighted in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List for his contribution to medical education and research into developing vaccines, including work toward a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. He was a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2008.
Nick Brown, Principal, Linacre College, University of Oxford
Nick Brown took office in 2010 as principal of Linacre College at the University of Oxford. He is also a university lecturer in plant sciences and a fellow and senior tutor at Linacre.
Brown’s research interests range from the microscopic and local to international policy concerns. He is currently working with the Woodland Trust on a project to assess landscape changes in the United Kingdom, and also investigating the best methods for restoring ancient woodlands.
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Brown also works with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Post-Conflict Assessment Unit to investigate the environmental impacts of conflicts and pre-existing chronic environmental problems, which has taken him to countries such as Iraq and Rwanda. He was also a member of a UN task force investigating the environmental impacts of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in the Maldives.
Brown chaired Oxford University’s Tutors for Graduates Committee, which represents and advocates for graduate students. He is also interested in promoting public understanding and engagement with science, and has been featured on BBC Radio 4.
Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley
Nicholas Dirks was appointed the 10th chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. Before coming to Berkeley, he was the executive vice president for the arts and sciences and dean of the faculty at Columbia University, where he invested in the development of undergraduate programs and on enhancing diversity among the faculty. Dirks also served as the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History. Prior to his appointment at Columbia, he taught history and anthropology at the University of Michigan, and Asian history and civilization at the California Institute of Technology.
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Dirks has received several scholarly honors, including a MacArthur Foundation residential fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lionel Trilling Award for his book, “Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India.” Other major works include “The Hollow Crows: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom” and “The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain.”
Christopher L. Eisgruber, President, Princeton University
Christopher Eisgruber was elevated to the presidency of Princeton University in 2013, after serving as provost since 2004. He also holds the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professorship of Public Affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values.
Before joining Princeton in 2001, Eisgruber clerked for US Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court, and then served for 11 years on the New York University School of Law faculty. Eisgruber received an AB in physics from Princeton, an MLitt in politics from Oxford University (where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar), and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. He is a member of the American Law Institute.
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Eisgruber is also the author of “The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process” and “Constitutional Self-Government,” and the co-author, with Lawrence G. Sager, of “Religious Freedom and the Constitution.” He has also published numerous articles on constitutional law, religious freedom and jurisprudence.
Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University
Drew Gilpin Faust, the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences, took office as Harvard’s 28th president in 2007. Previously, she had served as founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Under her leadership, Radcliffe was transformed into one of the nation’s foremost centers of scholarly and creative enterprise.
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Before coming to Radcliffe, Faust was the Annenberg Professor of History and director of the women’s studies program at the University of Pennsylvania. She received master’s and doctoral degrees in American civilization from Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in history from Bryn Mawr College.
Faust is the author of six books, including “Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War,” which won the Francis Parkman Prize. Her most recent work, “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War,” was nominated for a National Book Award in 2008.
She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of American Historians and the American Philosophical Society.
David Ibbetson, President, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge
In 2013, Clare Hall Cambridge welcomed its eighth president: David Ibbetson. Ibbetson also serves as the Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University of Cambridge, a post he has held since 2000.
Ibbetson obtained his MA and PhD in law at Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College. In 1980, he became a fellow and tutor in law at Magdalen College at Oxford. In 2000, he returned to Cambridge to assume the role of law professor and, later, warden of Leckhampton, Corpus Christi’s graduate student community.
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Ibbetson’s principal research interest is in legal history, concentrating on ancient law, post-Conquest English law and comparative European legal history. He has authored “A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations,” “Common Law and Ius Commune,” and “European Legal Development: The Case of Tort.” He has also edited several volumes, most recently (with Matthew Dyson) “Law and Legal Process: Substantive Law and Procedure in English Legal History,” and contributed numerous book chapters and articles in his specialty. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 2003.
David W. Pershing, President, University of Utah
David Pershing, who was named the University of Utah’s 15th president in 2012, has dedicated more than three decades of his career in service to the institution.
He joined Utah as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1977, and became dean of the college of engineering in 1987. In 1998, Pershing assumed the role of senior vice president of academic affairs, responsible for approximately 1,000 faculty and 25,000 students in the colleges of the main University of Utah campus.
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Pershing is the recipient of his university’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Research Awards and its Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, won more than 20 research grants totaling approximately $60 million, and earned five patents. He was named Engineering Educator of the Year by the Utah Engineering Council, and is a winner of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.
Pershing holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a PhD from the University of Arizona, both in chemical engineering.
Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford
Louise Richardson has served as vice-chancellor at the University of Oxford since early 2016. Previously, she had been principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She received a BA in history from Trinity College, Dublin; an MA in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles; and an MA and PhD in government from Harvard University.
She was an assistant and associate professor in Harvard’s department of government from 1989 to 2001. Following that, she served as executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during its formative years.
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The vice-chancellor’s research has focused on international security. Publications include “Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past,” “What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat,” “The Roots of Terrorism,” and “When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations in the Suez and Falkland Crises.”
Richardson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences.
Peter Salovey, President, Yale University
Peter Salovey was elevated to the role of president of Yale University in 2013. He was previously the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology and, from 2008 to early 2013, served as Yale’s provost.
Since joining the Yale faculty in 1986, Salovey has studied the connection between human emotion and health behavior, and founded the Center for Emotional Intelligence. He also played a part in the development of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program.
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In recognition of his talents, Salovey was awarded both the William Clyde DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College and the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences. He has also authored or edited more than a dozen books focused on his research interests.
Salovey received an AB in psychology and an AM in sociology from Stanford University and three degrees in psychology from Yale: an MS, an MPhil and a PhD. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University
Stanford University installed Marc Tessier-Lavigne as its 11th president in 2016. Tessier-Lavigne received undergraduate degrees in physics from McGill University and in philosophy and physiology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a PhD in physiology from University College London. He then held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford.
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Tessier-Lavigne and his colleagues pioneered the identification of molecules that direct the formation of connections among nerve cells to establish circuits in the developing brain and spinal cord. He has been recognized for his contributions through membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine in the US. He is also a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society in the UK and the Royal Society of Canada.
In 2003, Tessier-Lavigne was recruited to Genentech to become that company’s executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer. He also spent five years as president of The Rockefeller University.
Ruth Simmons, President Emerita, Brown University
Ruth Simmons served as the president of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. She was the university’s first female president and the first African-American president of an Ivy League institution. Simmons also held appointments as professor of comparative literature and of Africana studies at Brown.
After completing her PhD in romance languages and literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College. In 1994, she became president of Smith College, where she launched a number of important academic initiatives including an engineering program: the first at an American women’s college.
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Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, she was named a chevalier (knight) of the French Legion of Honor.
The Tanner Lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner, in 1978.
In creating the lectureships, Professor Tanner said, “I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behavior and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life.”