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Quick quiz: Name the current presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton universities.
Not to worry if you can’t, for neither can I, though I do recall that the president of Harvard is a woman, or was a woman until recently. Sixty years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I could have told you that Robert Goheen was president of Princeton, Whitney Griswold was president of Yale, and Nathan Pusey, following upon the more famous James Conant, was president of Harvard. I could have done so because these men, and a number of other university presidents of the time, were educational leaders. An educational leader, in that distant day, was someone who had firm ideas about the principles required to run a university and the ultimate rewards of higher education. They weighed in on these ideas when called upon to do so, and sometimes without waiting to be called upon. The reason you are unlikely to know the names of the presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton is that the university president as...