Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth is featured in Hartford Magazine’s “50 Most Influential People” list for 2012. His biography, published in the magazine’s cover story, reads:
Michael S. Roth, historian, curator, author and president of Wesleyan University in Middletown, remembers the flexibility the school showed him when he wanted to explore “how people make sense of the past.” He designed his own cross-discipline major at Wesleyan, earning a degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1978. He received a Ph.D. in history from Princeton in 1984. Roth curated a celebrated exhibit on Freud at the Library of Congress. He was president of the California College of the Arts, associate director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and director of European studies at Claremont Graduate University. He also founded and directed the Scripps College Humanities Institute in Claremont, Calif. Aside from teaching every semester at Wesleyan, Roth has expanded financial aid to students, fostered civic engagement by tying it to curriculum and establishing a center for social entrepreneurship, and launched the Shapiro Creative Writing Center and a College of the Environment. His own writing has appeared in a campus blog, various journals and in The New York Times , L.A. Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post. A native of Brooklyn, Roth was in the first generation in his family to attend college.
The Hartford Magazine staff solicited nominations from their readers and an editorial committee developed the list. “We were looking for those whose influence comes as a result of their words and actions, not as part of their jobs,” the magazine reported.