Lanhee J. Chen

Lanhee Chen

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies at the Hoover Institution and Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, an international business advisory firm, an Operating Partner of New Road Capital Partners, a private equity fund, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of El Camino Health in California.

Chen’s career has included work in American politics, the U.S. government, academia, and business.  He is a veteran of several high-profile U.S. political campaigns.  In 2012, he served as policy director and chief policy adviser for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; was a senior adviser to Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid; and was a health policy adviser to Bush-Cheney 2004.  Chen previously served as a presidentially-appointed member of the Social Security Advisory Board and a senior appointee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush Administration.

His writings have been published in major news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, and he appears often on national television news programs to provide insight and analysis on American politics and public policy. He earned his Ph.D. and A.M. in political science from Harvard University, his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his A.B. magna cum laude in government from Harvard College.

Ken Burns

Ken Burns is an American filmmaker known for his documentary series that incorporate the use of archived footage and photographs. Ken Burns widely known series include Baseball, Jazz, The Civil War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Prohibition, The Roosevelt’s, The War, and The Vietnam War.

Kenneth Lauren Burns was born on July 29, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York; he is the son of a bio-technician and a college professor. Ken Burns’s mother died of breast cancer when he was just eleven years old and he credits the incident for shaping his career; believing that much of his work was an attempt to make people long gone come alive. He attended Hampshire College and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies and design.

Ken Burns is the winner of two different Emmy Awards, in 1995, for Outstanding Informational Series: Baseball, and in 2010 for Outstanding Non-fiction Series: the National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

David M. Axelrod

David M. Axelrod is an American political consultant and analyst and former White House official. He is best known for being the chief strategist for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.

After Obama's election, Axelrod was appointed as Senior Advisor to the President. He left the position in early 2011 and became the Senior Strategist for Obama's successful re-election campaign in 2012.

Axelrod wrote for the Chicago Tribune, and joined CNN as Senior Political Commentator in 2015.

As of December 2019, Axelrod serves as the director of the non-partisan University of Chicago Institute of Politics. His memoir is titled Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

Tamim Ansary

Tamim Ansary

Tamim Ansary grew up in Afghanistan and grew old in America, and he takes a particular interest in times and places where civilizations overlap.

His books include West of Kabul, East of New York, a literary memoir about straddling a cultural fault line in the world; and Games Without Rules, a history of Afghanistan from the inside looking out.

In Destiny DisruptedA History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, and his latest work, The Invention of Yesterday, he explores the relationship between cultural perspective and the narrative of world history.

Vik Amar

Vik Amar

Vik Amar joined the College of Law as its dean in 2015, after having been a professor of law for many years at law schools in the University of California System, most recently the UC Davis School of Law, where he served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Amar is one of the most eminent and frequently cited authorities in constitutional law, federal courts, and civil procedure. He has produced several books and over 60 articles in leading law reviews. He is a co-author (along with Akhil Reed Amar and Steven Calabresi) of the upcoming edition of the six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West Publishing Co., 6th ed. 2021) pioneered by Ron Rotunda and John Nowak, as well as the hardbound and soft-cover one-volume hornbooks that derive from it. He is also a co-author (along with Jonathan Varat) of Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 15th ed. 2017), a co-author on multiple volumes of the Wright & Miller Federal Practice and Procedure Treatise  (West Publishing Co. 2006), and a co-author (along with John Oakley) of a one-volume treatise on American Civil Procedure (Kluwer, 2008). He writes a biweekly column on constitutional matters for and a monthly column on legal education for, is a frequent commentator on local and national radio and TV, and has penned dozens of op-ed pieces for major newspapers and magazines.

A strong proponent of public and professional engagement, Amar is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has served as a consultant for, among others, the National Association of Attorneys General, the United States Department of Justice, the California Attorney General’s Office, the ACLU of Southern California, and the Center for Civic Education. For one year he chaired the Civil Procedure Section of the Association of American Law Schools.

Amar earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and his juris doctor from Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor for the Yale Law Journal. He then clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court before joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he handled a variety of complex civil and white-collar criminal matters. It appears that dean Amar was the first person of South Asian heritage to clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, and was the first American-born person of Indian descent to serve as a dean of a major American law school. Follow Dean Amar’s bi-weekly column on and his monthly column on Above the Law, and read archived posts from his column.


JD Yale Law School
AB University of California, Berkeley


Civil Procedure
Constitutional Law
Federal Courts

Cara Hale Alter

Cara Hale Alter

Cara Hale Alter, relying on 20 years of research, has a deep understanding of how nonverbal communication shapes the perception of leadership presence. As the founder of SpeechSkills and the author of the critically acclaimed book The Credibility Code, she has provided training to numerous Fortune 100 companies around the globe.

In addition, she’s lectured at Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, appeared in countless media outlets including and USA Today, and is currently featured on the Lean In website with her video series Taming Adrenaline.


She also presented to our local students during the Student Ideas Festival.

Patrick N. Allitt

Patrick N. Allitt

Dr. Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, where he has taught since 1988. The holder of a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Allitt-an Oxford University graduate-has also taught American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, where he was a Henry Luce Postdoctoral Fellow. He was the Director of Emory College's Center for Teaching and Curriculum from 2004 to 2009, where he looked for ways to improve teaching. In this critical administrative position, he led workshops on a wide variety of teaching-related problems, visited dozens of other professors' classes, and provided one-on-one consultation to teachers to help them overcome particular pedagogical problems.

Professor Allitt was honored with Emory's Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2000 was appointed to the N.E.H./Arthur Blank Professorship of Teaching in the Humanities. A widely published and award-winning author, Professor Allitt has written several books, including The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History; Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985; Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome; and Religion in America since 1945: A History. He is also author of I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom, a memoir about one semester in his life as a university professor.

In addition, he is the editor of Major Problems in American Religious History. He has written numerous articles and reviews for academic and popular journals, including The New York Times Book Review.