The Forum | Freedom of Expression

In Memoriam: Herbert I. London

November 12, 2018 by Michael B. Poliakoff

ACTA mourns the loss of Herbert I. London (1939–2018), renowned as a thought leader, author, teacher, scholar, and longtime friend. Originally from the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. London studied at Columbia University under Jacques Barzun and received a doctorate in history from New York University (NYU) in 1966.

Dr. London was professor emeritus and the former John M. Olin Professor of Humanities at NYU. From 1972–1992, he served as the dean of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, which he founded and where he promoted the study of the Great Books and championed innovative teaching methods.

Following his distinguished career at NYU, Dr. London served as the president of the Hudson Institute from 1997 until 2011, Senior Fellow at the Center for the American University at the Manhattan Institute, and Chairman of the National Association of Scholars. He also served on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition to Reduce Spending. As a policy advocate, Dr. London coined the phrase “Vampire State” for New York, in reference to its high taxes. He was also a candidate in several political campaigns, including one for governor of New York, in which he garnered more votes than any third party candidate in the state’s history.

As a public intellectual, Dr. London’s writing reached audiences through major newspapers, talk radio, and television programs across the country, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Review, Commentary, Fortune, and Newsmax. Dr. London received numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Martin Luther King Award from the Congress of Racial Equality for Citizenship Achievement in 1996, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2000, the American Jewish Congress Award in 2001, and the Jeane Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award from the Bradley Foundation in 2012, among many other accolades. He was the author and editor of 27 books, including Decline and Revival in Higher Education in 2010, and, most recently in 2014, The BDS War Against Israel: The Orwellian Campaign to Destroy Israel Through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

Dr. London has been a longstanding supporter of ACTA through his generous giving and passionate encouragement. He spoke at many ACTA events, and expertly advised ACTA on the most pressing issues in academia. Dr. London will be sorely missed for his wisdom, integrity, and untiring commitment to excellence in higher education.   


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