Deborah A. Freund
Deborah A. Freund was appointed the 15th President of Claremont Graduate University on November 15, 2010, by the university’s Board of Trustees. Freund is the first woman to serve as president of CGU.
“Professor Freund personifies the 85-year tradition of dedication to academic excellence in research and teaching that is CGU’s hallmark,” said Chairman of the Board Donald Baker. “As an internationally recognized scholar and sought-after expert in the field of health-care policies and economics, she will have a decidedly positive impact on CGU’s students and faculty. We are fortunate that she will bring extensive administrative experience to her service as president of Claremont Graduate University.”
Freund was vice chancellor and provost at Syracuse University from 1999-2006, and has held the title of Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Economics from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs since 2004. In addition to her faculty position at the Maxwell School, she is also a senior research associate at the school’s Center for Policy Research.
“To be asked to lead an educational institution of such distinction and accomplishment as CGU in these changing times for higher education is a challenge and a privilege,” said Freund. “Meeting such challenges going forward will be possible because of the dedication, talent, and enthusiasm of CGU’s trustees, faculty, students, alumni, and staff. CGU's pacesetting record of transdisciplinary research and teaching mirrors what I have also been committed to during my 30 years in the academy. More importantly, this perspective is not only central to our success in the university, but to finding the best ways of approaching and solving the complex problems we all face in the world today.”
With the selection of Freund as its new president, CGU has completed an extensive and expansive search for the institution’s new leader. “Everyone in the university community is looking forward to welcoming Professor Freund as a scholar, an administrative leader, and a visionary to help us chart our course for the future,” said Trustee Beverly Ryder, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “From the earliest contact with Professor Freund, the members of the search committee could see how her interests and accomplishments were a strong match with CGU’s mission to educate the next generation of society’s leaders.”
Freund came to Syracuse University from Indiana University Bloomington (IU) where she was vice chancellor and dean of the faculties, and special advisor to the president and vice president of the IU System on Academic Affairs for five years. While at IU, Freund also served as chair of the Health Sciences and Administration Faculty in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs from 1988-1992; as associate dean from 1992-1994; and director of the Bowen Research Center, whose participating scholars conducted health policy and health services research at IU from 1989-1999. From 1985-1988, Freund was the director of the Program on Health Economics and Finance at the Health Services Research Center, director of the PhD Program in Health Policy and Administration, and director of the Clinical Economics Training Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She holds a PhD from the University of Michigan in economics, an MA in applied economics and MPH in medical care administration from the same institution. Trained as a health-care administrator, Freund also holds the rank of adjunct professor of pediatrics and orthopaedic surgery at Upstate Medical University, State University of New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in Classics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1973.
Freund has an outstanding history of accomplishments in fundraising and sponsored research, having been the principal investigator on more than $50 million in grants. Under her leadership, Syracuse University faculty increased sponsored research by 400 percent.
At Syracuse, Freund championed interdisciplinary research, working to encourage interdisciplinary opportunities in five areas of excellence: 1) citizenship and governance, 2) environmental systems, 3) information technology, 4) religion and society, and 5) disability policy. She strengthened four already strong areas into ones of worldwide distinction: 1) internationalization of the curriculum and study abroad, 2) diversity, 3) writing, and the 4) integration of theory and practice.
Freund is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Trustee Award for Excellence from the American Hospital Association (2007), election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Social Insurance (2003), the Kershaw Prize for best young public policy researcher from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (1991), a W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellow (1986-1989), and was the first provost ever elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). She is the recipient of the Jay S. Drotman Prize from the American Public Health Association for young health professionals challenging traditional public health policy or practice. Freund has also served on numerous boards, including positions with the Association of American Universities, the Health Research and Education Trust of the American Hospital Association (where she was board chair, 2003-2005), and the National Women’s Hall of Fame (2005-Present). Freund is included in multiple lists of influential leaders, including the 500 Most Influential People in U.S. Health Care.
At a date to be determined, Freund will be joined by her spouse, the renowned labor economist Thomas J. Kniesner, the Krisher Professor of Economics and a senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse. He will bring his considerable expertise to CGU’s School of Politics and Economics as a university professor. Freund and Kniesner have a son, William, who is 15 years old.