Martin Meyerson (1922-2007) was President and University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Early in his career, he held an assistant professorship of the social sciences at the University of Chicago’s undergraduate college and its graduate policy planning program, and then an original professorship in the planning department at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he jointly taught a course with Lewis Mumford. His next academic assignments were as the first tenured Williams Professor of City Planning and Urban Research at Harvard University and Founding Director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies at M.I.T. and Harvard. He was acting dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
At Berkeley, he was Professor, Dean and Interim Chancellor in the period of intense student dissent. Returning to the East, he was President of the University of Buffalo during the governorship of Nelson Rockefeller, from which he was reunited with the University of Pennsylvania as its President. Short-term assignments have included being an Overseas Fellow at Cambridge University, a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and an Associate of the public policy group at Yale. Professor Meyerson held major United Nations assignments in Japan, Yugoslavia, and Indonesia, was overseas Governor throughout the history of the Institute for Environmental Studies in London, a staff member at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He was in charge of planning and development for Chicago’s housing program, and has served on various corporate and government boards, including White House task forces.
Dr. Meyerson worked on problems of regional, national and cultural development for governments and institutions in various countries. He was a member for its duration of five years of the six-person United Nations Mission on Urbanization and Industrialization in Japan, and chaired until 1993 the advisory council for the international U.N. Centre for Regional Development based in Nagoya. He was a founder and served for a score of years as the International Governor of the research Centre for Environmental Studies based in London, and is a board member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. At ACTION, the American Council To Improve Our Neighborhoods (a national movement of business, professional and civic leaders to enhance urban communities), he was executive director and earlier, research director. He has served on task forces for Presidents of the United States of both parties, on expert groups for Congress, and on councils of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, the Census Bureau, the Electric Power Research Institute and other agencies. He collaborated on a national study of corporate education and training, and was a member of the Senior Executives Council of the Conference Board.
An Honorary President of the International Association of Universities (based in Paris), he was president of the Foundation for the International Exchange of Scientific and Cultural Information by Telecommunications, founded in Zurich, and is chairman of the Marconi Foundation located at Columbia University. Educated at Columbia’s College (classics and sciences) and Harvard (technology and city and regional planning), he held 23 honorary doctorates in the United States and abroad, honorary professorships at Beijing University and at the National University of Asuncion. His books and other writings have been published abroad as well as in the United States.
At the University of Pennsylvania, he chaired the University Press, the board of the Institute for Research on Higher Education, and the Friends of the Library. He had also served as chair for the Mahoney Institute of Neurosciences and the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies. The University of Pennsylvania named its School of Fine Arts building for him. It also established the Martin and Margy Meyerson chair, as did the Philippine Women’s University. Among learned societies, he was a member of the American Philosophical Society, and of its executive committee, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Education. He was an Academician of the Acadámie Europáene des Sciences des Arts et des Lettres. He chaired a number of the bicentennial series for Westinghouse Broadcasting. He has been on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Daedalus, and served as author and editor for The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Dr. Meyerson was principal author of the following books: Politics, Planning and the Public Interest (Free Press/Macmillan); Housing, People and Cities (McGraw Hill); Faces of the Metropolis (Random House); Boston: The Job Ahead (Harvard University Press); and Gladly Learn and Gladly Teach (University of Pennsylvania Press).
He received the Einstein Award of the American Technion Society and the John Jay Award from Columbia University. He was honored by the University of California, Berkeley, “For Distinguished Achievement.” He was decorated a Knight-Commander of the Republic of Italy, in 1988 a “Chevalier de l’Ordre National de Merite” of France, and in 1989, the Emperor of Japan honored him with the decoration, the “Order of the Rising Sun.”