President of Wesleyan University
Michael S. Roth '78 became the 16th president of Wesleyan University in 2007, after having served as Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute, and President of the California College of the Arts. At Wesleyan, he has increased grant support for students who receive financial aid and has overseen the launch of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, and four new colleges emphasizing interdisciplinary research and cohort building: the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, the College of East Asian Studies and the College of Integrative Sciences. Author and curator (most notably of the exhibition "Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture," which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998), Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on "how people make sense of the past." His fifth book, Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past was published in 2012. His most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future. He regularly publishes essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals. He continues to teach undergraduate courses and through Coursera has offered MOOCs, the most recent being "How to Change the World."