President and CEO, the Aspen Institute
Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe
October 18, 2007
Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. The Institute sponsors programs and partnerships on five continents and works to find nonpartisan solutions to national and global challenges.
A native of New Orleans, Isaacson is a graduate of Harvard College and Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. After beginning his career at the Sunday Times of London, he returned to his hometown and worked for Times-Picayune/States-Item. In 1978, he joined Time magazine and served as a political correspondent and national editor before becoming the magazine's managing editor in 1996. In 2001, he was named Chairman and CEO of CNN and two years later became president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he was appointed the vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, and he also serves on the Board of Directors of United Airlines, Tulane University, the National Constitution Center, and is chairman of the board of Teach for America.
In addition to these accomplishments, Isaacson is the author of three major biographies: Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) and Kissinger: A Biography (1992). In the spring of this year, Einstein topped the New York Times bestseller list, and of the more than 200 biographies of the great scientist, it is the only work to take into account Einstein's recently released personal papers. Hailed by The Guardian of London as "a skilful piece of scientific literature and a thumping good read," the biography celebrates the life a man who, in Isaacson's words, is "the paramount icon of our age." He lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, D.C.
About The J. Roderick Davis Lectures
J. Roderick Davis is a 1958 graduate of Samford University (then Howard College). After graduation, he received advanced degrees in English and theology from Boston, Yale, and Columbia universities, followed by more than two decades of teaching in universities in New Jersey and New York. In 1990, he was chosen by his alma mater to come back as the Dean of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In his eleven years in that office, he helped enlarge the College faculty by thirty percent, created individual departments in Geography, Political Science, Philosophy, and Classics, and directed the streamlining and re-focusing of the university’s nationally-recognized core curriculum.
When Dean Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues decided to honor him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and activists in areas of interest to students in the Arts and Sciences.
Previous Davis Lecturers and topics include:
2007 - Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe: "Einstein's Creativity"
2006 – Dr. Juan Hernandez, President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement: “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”
2005 – Dr. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College: “The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global”
2004 – Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School: “Democracy and Human Dignity”
2003 – Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute: “The Future of Cancer: Progress with a Purpose”
2002 – Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute: “Leadership in Conflict”