Walter S. Isaacson
Campaign Chair, Emeritus Board Member, Tulane University
Walter Isaacson is a Professor of History at Tulane and an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City. He has been the CEO of the Aspen Institute, the CEO of CNN, and the editor of Time Magazine.
Isaacson’s most recent biography, Elon Musk (2023), is an intimate chronicle based on spending two years by Musk’s side. He is also the author of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (2020), Leonardo da Vinci (2017), The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made(1986).
He is a host of the show “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies.”
Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and became the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became CEO of CNN in 2001 and the CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States. He has also been a member of the U.S. Defense Innovation Board.
In 2023, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Joe Biden. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He serves on the board of United Airlines and Bloomberg Philanthropies.