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Derek Bok has been a lawyer and professor of law, dean of Harvard Law School and 25th president of Harvard University. Currently, he is the 300th Anniversary University Research Professor in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where his research focuses on the state of higher education and the adequacy of the U.S. government in coping with the nation's domestic problems. His three books on this subject are The State of the Nation, The Trouble with Government, and, most recently, The Politics of Happiness.
Bok has written six books on higher education: Beyond the Ivory Tower, Higher Learning, Universities and the Future of America, The Shape of the River, Universities in the Marketplace, and Our Underachieving Colleges. He serves as chair of the board of the Spencer Foundation and was formerly chair of Common Cause.
After receiving a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, Bok earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and a master's degree in economics from George Washington University. Following law school, he was named a Fulbright Scholar and studied at the University of Paris' Institute of Political Science.