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American Academy Announces New Class of Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members


Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences today announced its newly elected Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members. The 2003 class of 187 Fellows and 29 Foreign Honorary Members includes four college presidents, three Nobel Prize winners, and four Pulitzer Prize winners. Among this year's new Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members are Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; journalist Walter Cronkite; philanthropist William H. Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; novelist Michael Cunningham; recording industry pioneer Ray Dolby; artist Cindy Sherman; and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Donald Glaser.

The selection of Foreign Honorary Members continues the tradition of honoring distinguished experts and intellectuals from outside the United States whose work complements the values of the American Academy. Niels Bohr, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Albert Camus were among past elected Foreign Honorary Members. This year's class includes conductor Helmuth Rilling, founder of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart; Anthony Kenny, former Master of Balliol College at the University of Oxford; and Lloyd Axworthy, formerly Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome these outstanding and influential individuals to the nation's oldest and most illustrious learned society. Election to the American Academy is an honor that acknowledges the best of all scholarly fields and professions. Newly elected Fellows are selected through a highly competitive process that recognizes those who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines," said Academy President Patricia Meyer Spacks. Leslie Berlowitz, the Academy's Executive Officer, added, "The American Academy is unique among academies for its breadth and scope. Throughout its history, the Academy has gathered individuals with diverse perspectives to participate in studies and projects focusing on advancing intellectual thought and constructive action. In the past year, the Academy has focused on issues from advancing the humanities relevance in American society to analyzing the cost of war in Iraq. We know that this year's Fellows will continue in the Academy's tradition of cherishing knowledge."

New Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members are nominated and elected by current members of the Academy. Members are divided into five distinct classes: I) mathematics and physics; II) biological sciences; III) social sciences; IV) humanities and arts; and V) public affairs and business. The unique structure of the American Academy allows Members to conduct interdisciplinary studies that draw on the range of academic and intellectual disciplines.

The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The Academy has elected as Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its membership, the American Academy conducts thoughtful, innovative, non-partisan studies on international security, social policy, education, and the humanities.

This year's election maintains the Academy's practice of honoring intellectual achievement, leadership, and creativity in all fields. Catherine Bertini, Undersecretary General of the United Nations and Chief Executive of the World Food Program; novelists Richard Ford and Peter Carey; Jeri Laber, senior advisor to Human Rights Watch; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich; William J. McDonough, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; botanist Stephen P. Hubbell, founder and chairman of the National Council for Science and the Environment; Anne Cox Chambers, chair of Atlanta Newspapers, Inc.; writer Charles Johnson; Samuel C. Silverstein, chairman of the department of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons; Kathleen C. Taylor, director of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at the General Motors Research and Development and Planning Center; political philosopher Michael Sandel; and Harman Kardon co-founder Dr. Sidney Harman are also among the Fellows elected in 2003. A full list of new Members is available on the Academy website (


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