Judith R. Shapiro became President of the Teagle Foundation on July 1, 2013. She is also President and Professor of Anthropology Emerita of Barnard College and Professor of Anthropology Emerita at Bryn Mawr College.
A native of New York City, she is a magna cum laude graduate of Brandeis University and received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. She began her teaching career at the University of Chicago in 1970, the first woman appointed to the Department of Anthropology, and moved to Bryn Mawr College in 1975. She became chair of the department, Dean of the Undergraduate College in 1985-6, and then served as Provost, the chief academic officer, from 1986 to 1994. Shapiro assumed the Barnard College presidency in 1994 and served until 2008, a time of major growth for the institution on many fronts: faculty development, curricular innovation, major architectural improvements, and enhanced fundraising.
During her tenure at Barnard, Shapiro served on the Board of the Fund for the City of New York, was a Partner in the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, served on the Executive Committee of the Board of the New York Building Congress, and on the New York State Leadership Council for the development of a Women’s Museum in New York City. In 2003, she forged a partnership with the revived New York City Women’s Commission with the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Shapiro’s scholarly work has been in the areas of gender differences, social organization, cultural theory, and missionization. She has carried out research in lowland South America, notably among the Tapirapé and Yanomami Indians of Brazil, and with the Northern Paiute of the North American Great Basin. She also carried out research with the Little Sisters of Jesus, an international Catholic congregation. She was President of the American Ethnological Society, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.
Her views on higher education have been widely published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The U.S. News and World Report, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. She was named one of Vanity Fair's "200 Most Influential Women in America" in 1998. In December 2002, she received the National Institute of Social Sciences’ Gold Medal Award for her contributions as a leader in higher education for women. She was elected in 2003 to membership in the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, and is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Shapiro serves as Chair of the Board of ITHAKA Harbors. She also serves on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Friends of the European Humanities University, and Scholars at Risk. She is a member of the Council of Presidents of The University of the People.