James Oliver Freedman (1982-1987)

James Oliver Freedman

Oil on canvas by Jerome Witkin, 1988
Gift of The University of Iowa Alumni Association

A strong supporter of liberal arts education, James O. Freedman has cited its role in preparing students for community and national leadership. His 1996 book, Idealism and Liberal Education, was a call for such preparation.

Freedman received his B.A. cum laude from Harvard College in 1957 and his L.L.B. cum laude from Yale Law School in 1962. He was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, practiced law in New York, and, in 1964, joined the University of Pennsylvania law school faculty, becoming the school’s dean in 1979.

During his five years as president at Iowa, Freedman promoted international participation by U.S. universities, particularly in East Asia. He also advocated coupling academic research with
economic development.

In 1987, Freedman was named president of Dartmouth College, a position he held for nearly 11 years. In 1998, he returned to teaching at Dartmouth and, in 2000, was elected the 42nd president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Freedman was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on September 21, 1935, and died on March 21, 2006, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Bathsheba, had two children.