Lawrence S. Bacow

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Lawrence Seldon Bacow
Lawrence S. Bacow in 2006
12th President of
Tufts University
In office
September 1, 2001 – July 29, 2011
Preceded by John A. DiBiaggio
Succeeded by Anthony Monaco
Personal details
Born (1951-08-24) August 24, 1951 (age 65)
Detroit, Michigan
Spouse(s) Adele Fleet Bacow
Residence Brookline, Massachusetts

Lawrence Seldon Bacow (born August 24, 1951)[1] is an American lawyer and economist. He served as the twelfth president of Tufts University from September 2001 until August 2011. His research focuses primarily on environmental policy, and he held faculty appointments in five departments at Tufts. Bacow is an expert on non-adjudicatory approaches to the resolution of environmental disputes, and is well known as an advocate of broader access to higher education and the importance of need-based financial aid.[2] He has been described as "perhaps the most respected university president in the country."[3]


A native of Michigan, Bacow received his S.B. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his M.P.P. and Ph.D. from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Bacow has authored four books and numerous articles, and has consulted extensively throughout the world. Prior to Tufts, he was chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.[4] On February 8, 2010 in an email to the student body he announced that he will be stepping down as President of Tufts in June 2011. On March 1, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that Bacow was appointed to the board of advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.[5]

Bacow is an avid runner, with five marathons under his belt.[6] As a youth, Bacow attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).[7] As an adult, the BSA awarded him the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.[8][9] He and his wife Adele Fleet Bacow have two sons, Jay and Ken. He is allergic to cats and most dogs.[10]

On May 25, 2011, Bacow was named as a member of the Harvard Corporation, the board tasked with guiding the endeavors and initiatives of Harvard University.[11]


After Bacow was mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006 as a possible candidate to succeed Lawrence Summers as president of Harvard University, Bacow categorically denied interest in the position, saying, "I took this job [Tufts] expecting it to be my last. I still do."[12]


  1. ^ Who's Who in America - 2010, 64th Edition (pub. 2009)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Vest, Charles. "Tufts Commencement 2011". 
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ After five straight years in the field, Bacow gives legs a respite from marathon - Sports
  7. ^ Townley, Alvin (2006-12-26). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  8. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  9. ^ "Honest Mr Scoutmaster, it wasn't us...honest". Listserv. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  10. ^ "Adele Fleet Bacow: First Lady of Tufts". Tufts Magazine. Fall 2001. 
  11. ^ "Three to Join Harvard Corporation". Harvard Gazette. May 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ McAnerney, Kelly. "Bacow won't be going Ivy League." Tufts Daily, 17 March 2006.

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