Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus


  • Accountability
  • Federal policy
  • School finance and spending
  • School funding
  • Standards and testing

Chester E. Finn Jr. is distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus at the Fordham Institute and also a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Finn served as Fordham’s president from 1997 to 2014. From 1999 to 2002, he was John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and previously at Hudson Institute. From 1992 to 1994, he served as founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project. He was professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University from 1981 to 2002. From 1985 to 1988, he served as assistant secretary for research and improvement and counselor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier positions include staff assistant to the president of the United States; special assistant to the governor of Massachusetts; counsel to the U.S. ambassador to India; research associate at the Brookings Institution; and legislative director for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y. He holds a bachelor’s degree in U.S. history, a master’s in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University. Finn is the author of 20 books and also writes regularly for Fordham’s Education Gadfly.