William G. Bowen

President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

President Emeritus, Princeton University

William G. Bowen, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from 1988 to 2006, was president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988, where he also served as professor of economics and public affairs. A graduate of Denison University (A.B. 1955) and Princeton University (Ph.D. 1958), he joined the Princeton faculty in 1958 (specializing in labor economics) and served as provost there from 1967-72.

Bowen joined the Mellon Foundation in 1988, and his tenure was marked by increases in the scale of the foundation’s activities, with annual appropriations reaching $220 million in 2000. To ensure that Mellon’s grant-making activities would be better informed and more effective while also following his interest in studying questions central to higher education and philanthropy, he created an in-house research program to investigate doctoral education, collegiate admissions, independent research libraries, and charitable nonprofits. Bowen’s special interest in the application of information technology to scholarship led to a range of initiatives, including the foundation-sponsored creation of JSTOR (a searchable electronic archive of the full runs of core journals in many fields), the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive, ARTstor (a repository of high-quality digitized works of art and related materials for teaching and research), and Ithaka Harbors, Inc. (an organization launched to accelerate the adoption of productive and efficient uses of information technology for the benefit of higher education).

Mr. Bowen is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including, most recently,Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President (Princeton University Press, 2010) and Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities(Princeton University Press, 2009). Other books include The Board Book: An Insider’s Guide for Trustees and Directors (2008); Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education (2005), with Martin A. Kurzweil and Eugene M. Tobin; Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values (2003), with Sarah A. Levin; The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values (2001), with James Shulman; the Grawemeyer Award-winning The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions (1998), with Derek Bok; The Charitable Nonprofits: An Analysis of Institutional Dynamics and Characteristics (1994), with Thomas I. Nygren, Sarah E. Turner, and Elizabeth A. Duffy; Inside the Boardroom (1994); and In Pursuit of the Ph.D.(1992) with Neil L. Rudenstine.

Bowen delivered the Romanes Lecture, “At a Slight Angle to the Universe: The University in a Digitized, Commercialized Age,” at the University of Oxford in October 2000.

Bowen is founding chairman of Ithaka Harbors, Inc. He serves on the boards of Ithaka/JSTOR and ARTstor and is co-chairman of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. He also is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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