Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center, Leadership Studies
Kathryn Kolbert is the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, a Professor of Leadership Studies and Professor of Professional Practice in the Political Science Department at Barnard. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and executive in the not-for-profit world, Professor Kolbert has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public-interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.”
In 1992, Kathryn argued the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin has called “one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.”
Prior to joining Barnard, Kathryn was the President and CEO of People for the American Way and was the creator and Executive Producer of NPR’s Justice Talking, an award-winning radio program produced at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1992 to 1997, she directed domestic litigation and public policy programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she was a co-founder and vice president. She has also served as the State Coordinating Counsel of the National ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project and as a Staff Attorney with both the Women’s Law Project and Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.
Kathryn has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and is a frequent commentator on leadership, constitutional and women’s rights issues in the national media.