One of the country’s leading innovators in higher education, Elizabeth Coleman has been president of Bennington College since 1987. Her vision for the liberal arts and their role and reinvigoration in society, has been widely recognized. Coleman has spoken internationally on the topic, including concluding the 25th anniversary TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Ideas Worth Spreading Conference. Prior to assuming the presidency at Bennington, Coleman was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the New School for Social Research in New York, where she founded and directed the school’s first ventures in undergraduate education.
In 1994, Coleman led Bennington College through an organizational restructuring to reanimate Bennington’s vanguard educational mission. Since then, the college has experienced record fiscal health and launched new pioneering curricular programs—among them a distinguished low-residency graduate program in writing, and the ambitious Center for the Advancement of Public Action, which invites students to put the world’s most pressing problems at the center of their education.
Coleman serves on the boards of the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, the Neurosciences Institute in California, and the National Association of Independent Schools. She has served on the boards of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, the Council for a Community of Democracies, and the Committee for Economic Development, and has been consultant to the Annenberg Corporation.
A scholar of Shakespeare and Henry James, Coleman graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, and received her PhD with distinction from Columbia University.