Every year, members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge spend months sifting through nominations to find some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, artists, and leaders to join their institution.
And 2004 was no exception. The class of more than 200, elected by members and announced in the spring, included a US senator, the president of Duke University, and the future head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But shortly before the formal induction ceremony in October, the academy’s governing council decided to add just one more name of its own: the nonprofit’s chief executive, Leslie Cohen Berlowitz.
The academy then quietly inserted Berlowitz’s name into the original six-month-old announcement, a spokesman acknowledged, making it look as though Berlowitz had been voted in along with everyone else in the spring.
“It was a terrible thing to do,” Stanford University history professor emeritus Peter Stansky, a former council member, said of the decision to alter the April press release. “It’s a lie.”
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