Campus News

President Edwards to be Inducted into Prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Story posted October 09, 2000

The AAAS national induction ceremony will be held this Saturday, October 14, at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, MA.
On April 15, 2000, the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected 154 new Fellows and 15 Foreign Honorary Members (a complete list of new members is available on the Web at: The new members, chosen in recognition of their distinguished contributions to science, scholarship, public affairs, and the arts, represent 89 institutions in 22 states and 11 foreign countries. Edwards, Bowdoin’s 13th president, is one of eight inductees being honored for their work in "educational and scientific administration."
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin II – for whom Bowdoin College is named, John Hancock, and other prominent individuals who contributed to the establishment of the new nation, its government, and its Constitution. The academy's purpose was to provide a forum for a select group of scholars, members of the learned professions, and government and business leaders to work together on behalf of the democratic interests of the republic. In the words of the academy's charter, enacted in 1780, the "end and design of the institution is... to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people." Today, the academy has 3,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members who bring a wide range of expertise to its multidisciplinary analyses of compelling contemporary issues. The academy is probably best known to the public through its quarterly journal, Daedalus, widely regarded as one of the world's leading intellectual journals.
Edwards came to Bowdoin as president in the fall of 1990. Since then he has concentrated on the College’s financial management, the modernization of its physical plant – a decade-long $100 million program – expansion of the College’s faculty and student body, the growth of its Asian Studies program, updating of its science and arts facilities, and the establishment of a new residential life system.
An American citizen, Edwards was born in London and raised in Middletown, Ohio. He attended Deerfield Academy and is a 1957 magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University where he earned a degree in English. He read law at Cambridge University, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He earned a law degree at Harvard University and was admitted to the Federal Bar in 1961.
While serving under the Queen’s Commissioner in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, from 1961-63, on a Ford Foundation award, he assisted in drafting legislation, helped prepare the first development plan and worked with young African politicians preparing for its independence as the Nation of Botswana. From 1963-65 he was with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of United Nations Affairs, where he worked on policy issues of African decolonization.
In 1965 Edwards joined the Ford Foundation, becoming its representative in Pakistan in 1968. During the years of the Green Revolution there he directed programs in agriculture in collaboration with international crop research institutes in Mexico and the Philippines; also programs in population, university development, and educational planning. In 1971 he returned to New York to become head of the foundation’s Middle East and Africa Office, where he was responsible for field offices in Abidjan, Lagos, Nairobi, Beirut, Cairo and Tunis.
In 1977 he was named president of Carleton College, a private, liberal arts college of 1,850 students in Northfield, Minn.
In September 1986, he joined the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, as Head of the Department of Health, Education and Housing. He served on the Aga Khan’s Management Board, overseeing the Aga Khan network of schools, community health programs and hospitals in East Africa and South Asia. Those responsibilities included budgeting, quality control, staff development, expansion and building programs for a network of 300 schools, 1,200 teachers, and 35,000 students in kindergarten through 10th grade in Asia and Africa; budgeting and senior staff recruitment of six hospitals totaling approximately 1,500 beds, including a 720-bed teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan; and oversight of housing boards responsible for building cooperative housing in Karachi and Bombay, India. He also served as a Trustee of the Aga Khan University, a medical facility, nursing school and teaching hospital in Karachi.
Since coming to Bowdoin, Edwards’s principal external activities have concerned science and technology in the State of Maine. He has served as chair of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, which administered a $10 million National Science Foundation grant to improve the teaching and learning of science and math in Maine’s public schools, through a program of Beacon Centers, summer academies, and student and teacher research institutes. He was appointed by Maine Governor John McKernan to the Board of the Maine Science and Technology Foundation in 1993, serving until 1998. He presently serves on the Advisory Council to the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources, on the Board of Maine Public Broadcasting, and on the Board of Visitors of the University of Maine. He also serves on the Task Force on the Maine Learning Technology Endowment and the University of Maine’s K-12 Review Task Force. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
President Edwards has announced his intention to step down as president of Bowdoin College in July 2001.

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