James Albert Smith Leach
University of Iowa College of Law
Government agency administrator; Member, U.S. House of Representatives; Educator
Public Affairs, Business, and Administration
Public Affairs and Public Policy
Mr. James Albert Smith Leach is currently the Chair in Public Affairs and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law. Formerly, Leach was elected the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in August, 2009 and served until 2013. Some notable accomplishments for NEH include the creation of a Bridging Cultures program to promote cultural understanding and the formation of a National Digital Public Library. He also served thirty years (1977-2007) as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Iowa's 2nd congressional district. As a representative, he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. In addition, Leach also founded and served as co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus, which seeks to raise the profile of the humanities nationwide. Prior to his appointment to the NEH, Leach served as the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, and was the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The recipient of 13 honorary degrees, he has also been honored with the Adlai Stevenson Award, Edgar Wayburn Award, Norman Borlaug Public Service Award, Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, and Woodrow Wilson Medal.