News Release

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers and Former Congressman John Porter Elected To Brookings Board of Trustees

November 20, 2002

Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard University and the former secretary of the Treasury, and John Porter, a partner in the law firm Hogan & Hartson and a former member of Congress and the Illinois House, have been elected to the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution. Summers and Porter were elected at the board’s Nov. 4 meeting.

“Larry Summers’ service in the highest levels of government and academia and John Porter’s long experience as a lawmaker on the federal and state levels will be an enormous enhancement to our already diverse group of trustees,” said James A. Johnson, the chairman of the board. “I look forward to working with both of them.”

“Larry’s leadership in American education, his career in public service and his expertise in economic policy make him a superb addition to the Brookings board. He returned to this institution for a while after leaving Treasury and before going to Harvard, and I’m delighted we’re renewing his affiliation,” said Brookings President Strobe Talbott. “John’s expertise in so many policy areas, including health, labor, education, and the environment, will be crucial to his involvement with Brookings as a trustee, and in helping our organization move forward in the coming years.”


Lawrence Summers is the twenty-seventh president of Harvard University and the former Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy there. In addition to his service in several high-level government positions, including secretary of the Treasury, he has also been the vice president of development economics and chief economist at the World Bank.

In 1993, Summers was named undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, where he had broad responsibility for assisting in the formulation and execution of international economic policies. Two years later, he became deputy secretary of the Treasury, playing a central role in a broad array of economic, financial, and tax matters, both international and domestic.

In July 1999, Summers became Treasury secretary. In that capacity, he helped engineer a historic pay down of U.S. debt, worked successfully to extend the life of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, and led the effort to enact the most sweeping financial deregulation in sixty years. Internationally, he worked to reform the international financial architecture and the International Monetary Fund, to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries, and to combat international money laundering. At the end of his term as Treasury secretary, Summers was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Medal, the department’s highest honor.

After leaving government in January 2001, he became the Arthur Okun Distinguished Fellow in Economics, Globalization, and Governance at Brookings. In 2002, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Summers earned his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1982. His published writings include Understanding Unemployment (1990). He was co-author of Reform in Eastern Europe (1991) and edited the series Tax Policy and the Economy. Some of his earliest work was published by Brookings. He has contributed more than one hundred articles to professional economic journals and for six years, served as editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics.


John Porter, a member of Hogan & Hartson’s Health, Legislative, and Education Groups, served for twenty-one years in the U.S. House, where he represented Illinois’ 10th district. While in Congress, he served on the Appropriations Committee, and as chairman of its subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He also served as vice chairman of the Foreign Operations and Military Construction subcommittees.

Porter is an expert on health law and education matters, including administrative and regulatory, international, legislative strategy, and education and health policy. He has been praised for his work on balancing the federal budget, protecting the environment, promoting human rights, and securing unprecedented funding increases for biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health. While in Congress, he founded and co-chaired the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and served as chairman of Global Legislators Organized for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE USA).

Porter is currently a member of the boards of the RAND Corporation, PBS, Research! America, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the Kemper Insurance Companies, and the Population Resource Center in Princeton, N.J. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Trustee Emeritus of the Kennedy Center.

Porter attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before receiving his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. Following service in the U.S. Army, he graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan Law School.

The Brookings Institution is an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to research, analysis, education, and publication focused on public policy issues in the areas of economics, foreign policy, and governance. The Board of Trustees, the Institution’s voluntary oversight group, is comprised of corporate executives, academic leaders, and former government officials and is responsible for the general administration of the Institution. It is charged with ensuring the highest caliber of scholarship and preserving the independent studies for which the Institution is known.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.