James MacGregor Burns
2008 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
James MacGregor Burns was a Pulitzer Prize-winning Presidential biographer who devoted his professional life to the study of leadership in American life. His most recent book was Running Alone: Presidential Leadership from JFK to Bush II -- Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It (Basic Books, 2007). Burns was co-editor (with George Goethals and Georgia Sorenson) of the 4 volume award-winning Encyclopedia of Leadership (SAGE, 2004). He inspired and helped to lead a group of leadership scholars who wrote The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership (Elgar, 2006). In 1971, Burns won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his biography, Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom (1970). His book, Leadership, published in 1978, is still considered the seminal work in the field of leadership studies.
Burns received his doctorate in political science from Harvard, attended the London School of Economics, and taught at Williams College. Burns is a former president of the American Political Science Association, former president of the International Society of Political Psychology, and former chair of the Berkshire Country Commission Against Discrimination. He was a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Sciences and served as a Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the Academy of Leadership, which bore his name at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.