Bob Kerrey is President of New School University in New York City. For twelve years prior to becoming President of New School University, Bob Kerrey represented the State of Nebraska in the United States Senate. Before that he served as Nebraska's Governor for four years.
Educated in pharmacy at the University of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey served three years in the United States Navy. After his military service, he started a chain of restaurants and health clubs in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.
Bob Kerrey entered the race for Governor of Nebraska with no prior political experience and was elected as a Democrat in a heavily Republican State. After serving a single four-year term, he returned to business. Upon the death of Nebraska's senior United States Senator, Kerrey became a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was elected in 1988 and re-elected in 1994. He chose not to run for re-election a third time because of the offer to be President of New School University and his desire to return to private life.
As a Senator, Bob Kerrey acquired a reputation as someone willing to take a stand on issues even in the face of public opposition. He was a defender of free speech and the separation of Church and State as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Kerrey opposed taking away the right of a woman to make her own reproductive decisions, supported extending civil rights protection in the workplace and in housing to gays and lesbians, and voted for reasonable gun control legislation. He also put his name behind Social Security reform and universal health insurance. In Nebraska, these were not traditionally popular positions.
From his first days as Governor to his last days in the Senate, Bob Kerrey has been involved with all levels of education in Nebraska and around the country. For the past 20 years, he has given his strong support both to increased funding and the need for significant reform. He headed the bipartisan Congressional Web-Based Education Commission which in 2001 produced an influential report entitled "The Power of the Internet for Learning: Moving from Promise to Practice."
Bob Kerrey is the author of When I Was A Young Man: A Memoir, published by Harcourt Books (May 2002).
He is married to Sarah Paley. The couple have a young son, Henry, who was born on September 10, 2001. His children from a prior marriage are named Ben and Lindsey.