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Freedman, James O.


FREEDMAN, JAMES O. (1935– ), scholar of administrative law. Freedman was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard in 1957 and graduated cum laude from Yale Law School in 1962. He served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, and then practiced law with a New York firm before joining the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1964. He became university provost in 1978 and dean of the law school in 1979. Freedman served as president of the University of Iowa from 1982 to 1987, then as president of Dartmouth College from 1987 to 1998, the second Jew to serve in that position. Dartmouth, which is the most rural and conservative of the Ivy League campuses, had their second Jewish president well before some of the other, more Jewish populated Ivy League colleges had their first.

A prominent scholar, Freedman published Crisis and Legitimacy: The Administrative Process and American Government in 1978. He wrote numerous articles and reviews for academic journals, including Iowa Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Administrative Law Review, and others. In his writing, as well as in his role as university president, he was an outspoken supporter of liberal arts education and its role in moral leadership. His 1996 work Idealism and Liberal Education sets forth the importance of a liberal arts education in preparing students for leadership. Freedman cites Czech playwright Vaclav Havel as an example of an engaged intellectual involved with social and political concerns.

In "Ghosts of the Past: Anti-Semitism at Elite Colleges," an article written for The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2000, Freedman discusses his decision in 1997 to address the issue of antisemitism while presiding over the dedication of the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth. His speech, which cited documents from the archives of Dartmouth and other institutions, chronicled the existence of a Jewish quota during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Freedman called for "a continuing vigilance about discrimination" against ethnic and religious groups. The speech generated widespread interest and praise.

Freedman was actively involved with the American Jewish Committee and served on the board of Brandeis University. In 2000 he was elected the forty-second president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As president, he expressed a wish that the Academy address social concerns and inequality. In 2003 Freedman was named a member of Hebrew College's National Board.

[Dorothy Bauhoff (2nd ed.)]

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