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Harry Lewis is a visionary educator and a prophet of digital disruption. A professor of computer science at Harvard for more than forty years, his students have included Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and dozens of others who have gone on to leadership roles in industry and academia. Having served for eight years as dean of Harvard College, he speaks with humor and insight on changes in higher education, as well as on the social changes resulting from the digital revolution.


Harry Lewis is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. A member of the Harvard faculty since 1974, he has helped launch thousands of Harvard undergraduates into careers in computer science. His celebrated book about higher education, Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future? was translated into Chinese (in both Taiwanese and mainland editions) and Korean. He is coauthor, with Hal Abelson and Ken Ledeen, of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion (translated into Russian and Chinese), which explains the origins and public consequences of the explosion of digital information. His most recent book, with Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, is the collection What’s College For? The Public Purpose of Higher Education. The editors contributed the lead essay, Renewing The Civic Mission of American Higher Education.

From 1995-2003 Lewis served as Dean of Harvard College. In this capacity he oversaw the undergraduate experience, including residential life, career services, public service, academic and personal advising, athletic policy, and intercultural and race relations. He is a long time member of the College’s Admissions Committee.

Lewis graduated from Harvard College in 1968, summa cum laude in Applied Mathematics. He holds degrees of Master of Arts (1973) and Doctor of Philosophy (1974) from Harvard in Applied Mathematics. During the Vietnam war he served as a commissioned officer In the US Public Health Service and was stationed at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.