Williams College President 2000-2009
Morton Owen Schapiro became Professor of Economics and the 16th President of Williams College on July 1, 2000. He assumed the presidency of Northwestern University July 2009.
Among the initiatives implemented during his presidency were a substantial reduction in average class size, a tripling of the number of courses offered in the college’s signature tutorial program, the creation of a new residential life program, and the completion of a number of major building projects including a center for theatre and dance, a student center, and new faculty office/classroom buildings.
President Schapiro continued to teach: introductory microeconomics, a tutorial on the economics of higher education, and two interdisciplinary seminars, one on the economics and philosophy of education, and the other on disease, culture and society.
He previously served as a member of the Williams College faculty from 1980 to 1991, as Professor of Economics and as Assistant Provost.
In 1991 he went to the University of Southern California where he served as Chair of the Department of Economics until 1994 and then as Dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences until 2000. During his last two years as Dean, he also served as the University’s Vice President for Planning.
He is among the nation’s premier authorities on the economics of higher education, with particular expertise in the area of college financing and affordability, and on trends in educational costs and student aid. He is widely quoted in the national media and has testified before U.S. Senate and House committees on economic and educational issues.
He has written more than one hundred articles and five books, and has edited two others, most with his long-time co-author Michael McPherson. These include: The Student Aid Game: Meeting Need and Rewarding Talent in American Higher Education (Princeton University Press 1998); Paying the Piper: Productivity, Incentives and Financing in Higher Education (also with Gordon Winston, University of Michigan Press 1993); and Keeping College Affordable: Government and Educational Opportunity (Brookings 1991) plus two recent edited volumes College Success: What It Means and How to Make It Happen (College Board 2008) and College Access: Opportunity or Privilege? (College Board 2006).
Professor Schapiro has received research grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the World Bank, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the College Board, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other groups to study the economics of higher education and related topics.
He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Hofstra University in 1975 and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.
President Schapiro and his wife Mimi have three children: Matt, Alissa, and Rachel.