Aspen Institute’s Dan Porterfield and Eric Liu Inducted Into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

September 9, 2022

President and CEO Dan Porterfield and Eric Liu, Executive Director of the Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity program, were elected to the Academy in 2020

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

September 14, 2022 – Dan Porterfield and Eric Liu were inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass on Saturday, September 10. They were elected to the Academy in 2020, with this being the first induction ceremony to take place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dan Porterfield has been the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute since 2018. He is recognized as a visionary strategist, transformational leader, devoted educator, and passionate advocate for justice and opportunity. 

Under his leadership, the Institute has launched new initiatives focused on criminal justice reform, science and society, economic inclusion, grassroots and community leadership, and more. In the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, where the Institute was founded and where it maintains its Aspen Meadows campus, it has broadened its partnerships with the local community and deepened its connection with its aesthetic and cultural heritage through the creation of a center celebrating the works of Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer, one of the founders of the Aspen Institute.

Prior to leading the Aspen Institute, Porterfield served for seven years as the President of Franklin & Marshall College, a national liberal arts college founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1787.

“It is a tremendous honor to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, particularly as part of an extraordinary group of individuals that includes my colleague Eric Liu,” said Porterfield.

Eric Liu’s induction to the Academy comes in recognition of his role as the founder and CEO of Citizen University, which works across the political spectrum to foster a culture of powerful citizenship. Liu is also the founder and Executive Director of the Citizenship and American Identity program at the Aspen Institute. The program explores the question of what it means to be American, and how to promote a shared sense of national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality.

Liu is the author of numerous books on democracy, race, and civic life, including Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy and You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. Previously, Liu served as a White House speechwriter and later as deputy domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

“The Academy is one of our country’s great and necessary institutions. I am deeply honored to be inducted. I’m also proud to join Dan Porterfield in representing the Aspen Institute in this class of inductees,” said Liu.

Also inducted during the same ceremony were Michele Norris, who founded The Bridge program at the Aspen Institute, and Ayanna Thompson, who moderates Aspen Institute Executive Seminars. 

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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