James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation located in New York City. The foundation has broad charitable interests in education, religion, and problems of youth. He assumed this post in 2006. Mr. Piereson is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York where he is director of the Center for the American University and Chairman of the Selection Committee for The Veritas Fund which allocates grants to programs on college and university campuses. Mr. Piereson was executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation from 1985 through 2005 when, following longstanding plans, the foundation disbursed its remaining assets and closed its doors. The John M. Olin Foundation maintained program interests in the areas of public affairs and public policy, and awarded grants in these areas to support research, fellowships, books and journals, and television documentaries. Most of its funds were allocated each year to major universitites and private research institutions. Mr. Piereson joined the John M. Olin Foundation in 1981 as a program officer, and was appointed executive director in 1985. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1987. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served on the Political Science faculties of several prominent universities, including Iowa State University (1974), Indiana University (1975), and the University of Pennsylvania (1976-1982), where he taught courses in the fields of United States government and political thought. Mr. Piereson is also trustee of the William E. Simon Foundation. He serves on the boards of several other tax exempt institutions, including: The Pinkerton Foundation, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation, the Center for Individual Rights, the Philanthropy Roundtable (Chairman, 1995-99), the Foundation for Cultural Review (Chairman), the American Spectator Foundation, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and DonorsTrust. He is a past member of the Board of Trustees of The Manhattan Institute. He is a member of the selection committee for the Clare Boothe Luce Program for Women in the Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering administered by the Henry Luce Foundation of New York City. He is chairman of the selection committee for the Hayek Book Prize. He is a member of the Executive Advisory Committee of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, of the Board of Visitors of the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, and of the Advisory Council of the Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom at Claremont McKenna College.
Mr. Piereson is the author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter Books, 2007). He is also the author (with J. Sullivan and G. Marcus) of Political Tolerance and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 1982). He is the editor of The Pursuit of Liberty: Can the Ideals that Made Amerca Great Provide a Model for the World (Encounter Books, 2008). He has also published articles and reviews in numerous journals, including Commentary, The New Criterion, The American Political Science Review, The Public Interest, the Journal of Politics, Philanthropy, The American Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and National Review. Mr. Piereson earned a Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University.