Presidents of Reed

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Peter J. Steinberger


Born on September 10, 1948, in Norwalk, Connecticut

Following President Koblik’s resignation, the board of trustees named Professor Peter J. Steinberger acting president of the college. He served in this capacity until Colin Diver began his presidency in summer 2002.

Steinberger, who holds a B.A. and M.A. from Fordham University and a Ph.D. from UC Riverside, joined the Reed faculty in 1977 as a member of the political science department. Previously, he taught for two years at the University of Denver.

Since coming to Reed, Steinberger has been active in community governance. He has served as chairman of the Reed Community Senate and as chair of the political science department. In 1993, he was named the first Robert H. and Blanche Day Ellis Professor of Political Science and Humanities.

In 1997, Steinberger was appointed dean of the faculty at Reed, a position he still holds. As part of his duties, he works with the Committee on Advancement and Tenure as well as the Committee on Academic Policy and Planning. He is the official liaison and representative of the faculty to the president.

A political philosopher, Steinberger has written several books and regularly contributes op-ed pieces to newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Recently, he has been central to a community discussion of academic freedom, stemming from a fall 2005 debate he participated in with author and lecturer David Horowitz. Steinberger has been described as “surgical and thorough” in the classroom and called a “Philosopher King” by students.

Steinberger has served as the president of the Western Political Science Association. He currently sits on the board of trustees at the Catlin Gabel School, and is an active participant in the larger political science community.