Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger has announced that noted author and journalist Nicholas Lemann has agreed to become Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, subject to approval by the University Trustees.
"Nicholas Lemann has had a distinguished career as a journalist and writer for more than 25 years," President Bollinger said. "I have had the opportunity and privilege of working with Nick this past year on the Journalism Task Force that was set up in the fall to look at the future of journalism education. In all my years in university life, I have rarely met anyone with more promise and ability in assuming a leadership role of a School."
Lemann has been the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker since 2000. Readers know him for his "Letter from Washington" column and articles on national and world events. Before joining The New Yorker, Lemann spent 15 years as the national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, where he reported on a wide range of domestic issues. Prior to that, he held senior editorial posts at both The Washington Monthly and Texas Monthly and was a member of the national staff of The Washington Post.
A New Orleans native, Lemann began his journalism career as a 17-year-old high school student writing for a local newspaper. He went on to Harvard and in 1976, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he earned a degree in American history and literature and was president of the Harvard Crimson.
Lemann is widely respected as a perceptive analyst of the issues of race and inequality. His books include the award-winning The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America (1991), which was adapted by the BBC and the Discovery Channel into a five-part TV series. His book The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (1999) and its hour-long adaptation for the PBS series Frontline helped spark a reform effort that has led to a major overhaul of the SAT. Lemann's other writings include numerous articles, reviews and essays that have appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine and other publications.
Lemann has lectured widely at universities around the country including the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Dartmouth, Yale Law School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In 2004, he will give the Goldman Memorial Lectures at the New York Public Library.
Lemann serves on the boards of the Author's Guild, the Society of the American Historians, the Lukas Prize Project and the City University of New York's Center for the Humanities.
In the fall of 2002, Lemann was among a group of prominent media and academic figures invited to participate in a special task force, convened by President Bollinger, to explore the future role of journalism education in the modern world.