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Three Columbians Elected to the American Philosophical Society

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia Trustee H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, and Acting Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Ira Katznelson were recently elected members of the prestigious American Philosophical Society. In 1743, Benjamin Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States , for the purpose of "promoting useful knowledge." Early members included George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison and John Marshall.

In the 19 th century, the society added John James Audubon, Robert Fulton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and Louis Pasteur to its membership roster. Albert Einstein, Robert Frost and George Marshall mark the scientific, humanistic and public accomplishments of 20 th-century members. Today, the society has 909 elected members, 765 from the United States and 144 from more than two dozen foreign countries, representing the leading thinkers of the times. Since 1900, more than 200 members have received the Nobel Prize.

This year, the organization announced 42 resident members and seven foreign members. The members were appointed to five classes: 1) Mathematical and Physical Sciences; 2) Biological Sciences; 3) Social Sciences; 4) Humanities; and 5) The Arts, Professions, Leaders in Public and Private Affairs. The American Philosophical Society honored both President Bollinger and Trustee Gerry Lenfest, chairman of the Lenfest Foundation, for their lifetime accomplishments in category five and Dr. Katznelson for his contributions to social sciences. Other members elected this year include: Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States; Donald Graham, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, The Washington Post Company; Colin Lucas, Vice Chancellor, University of Oxford ; and David McCullough, Author.

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Published: May 28, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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