Bard News & Events

Press Release

Bard College President Leon Botstein Awarded Honorary Degree by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Watson School of Biological Sciences

Mark Primoff
 Image Credit: Matt Dine
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Watson School of Biological Sciences (WSBS) at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, awarded Bard College President Leon Botstein an honorary doctor of science degree at its 15th commencement ceremony on April 29. Botstein was honored for being an outstanding educator, a remarkable academic leader, and a giant in American music.

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology, and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit

Leon Botstein is a conductor, music historian, and leader in education reform whose initiatives draw attention around the globe. He was educated at University of Chicago (BA) and Harvard University (Department of History, MA, PhD). As president and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Bard College (1975– ), he is a longtime advocate of innovation and excellence in liberal arts teaching. Founder of Bard High School Early College (2001– ), he put into practice a vision of high school as a public space where young adults, with the guidance of college-level faculty, explore their intellectual potential. As music director and conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (1992– ), artistic codirector of SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and music director of The Orchestra Now (TON), he is known for expanding listeners’ experience of classical music by performing works by lesser-known virtuosi and excavating forgotten works by popular composers. He was recently appointed artistic director of the Grafenegg Campus and Academy in Austria. He is author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture (Doubleday, 1997); Judentum und Modernität: Essays zur Rolle der Juden in der Deutschen und Österreichischen Kultur, 1848–1938 (Böhlau Verlag, 1991; Russian translation Belveder, 2003); Von Beethoven zu Berg: Das Gedächtnis der Moderne, published by Szolnay Verlag in September 2013. Recipient of several prestigious awards, Botstein’s most recent honors include an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Goucher College; honorary doctor of music from Sewanee: The University of the South; The National Center for Fair and Open Testing’s Deborah W. Meier Award for Heroes in Education; the Bruckner Society’s Kilenyi Medal of Honour; Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; Harvard University’s Centennial Award; Austrian government’s Cross of Honor, First Class; Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award; University of Chicago’s Alumni Medal; and Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society.
# # #

back to top

This event was last updated on 05-02-2018