Lee C. Bollinger, JD

President, Columbia University in the City of New York

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. President Bollinger was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community. 

Civic Involvement
Member of the American Civil Liberties Union Advisory Council, Association for a Better New York, Council on Foreign Relations, and Kresge Foundation Board of Trustees; member of the board of directors for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

Signature Initiative
Bollinger established the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, a neuroscience research center that offers community outreach and education programs to advance the understanding of neurological and mental illnesses — from Alzheimer’s to autism spectrum disorder.

Investing in Faculty Diversity
With Bollinger’s support, Columbia University has invested $83 million over the last decade to support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty. In the 2014-2015 academic year, Columbia had 136 underrepresented minority tenured and tenure-track faculty, the most of any of the four “Ivy-Plus” institutions.

An Advocate for Affirmative Action
During his tenure as president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger led the university’s legal defense in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. In both cases, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education.

Nomination Excerpt
“Under Bollinger’s leadership, Columbia has reflected the values of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity in its own admission and financial aid policies, becoming one of the most accessible among peer institutions for low-income, first-generation, and minority students. … An advocate for the core value of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity to American higher education and society, Bollinger has written and spoken widely about the importance of expanding access to higher education through affirmative action.”