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The Boston Globe



Hire truth

Why resume padding is such a temptation and such a terrible idea.

It was June when the Globe broke the story alleging that Leslie Cohen Berlowitz, president of the prestigious Cambridge-based American Academy of Arts and Sciences honorary society, had embellished her resume. Records, including academy applications for federal grants, suggest she’s been at it for at least a decade, inventing a doctorate from New York University she didn’t receive and inflating other aspects of her work experience. On July 31, Berlowitz resigned. Her paper trail is now under investigation by the state attorney general’s office.

This, of course, is not the first time an academic powerhouse has been caught padding his or her resume. In 2007, after working as MIT’s dean of admissions for nearly three decades, Marilee Jones lost her job after admitting she’d invented three college degrees. In 2012, having falsely claimed to have a PhD from Columbia University, Doug Lynch resigned as a vice dean at the University of Pennsylvania. The day Berlowitz resigned, a Boston Public Schools principal caught plagiarizing on job application materials submitted her resignation, too. There are disgraced executives from major corporations, governmental agencies, and college sports programs. (In 2001, Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary was busted when a journalist uncovered that he hadn’t played at the University of New Hampshire. He later admitted that he lied about his master’s degree from “NYU-Stony Brook.” No such university exists.)

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