John Brademas represented Indiana’s Third District for 22 years (1959-81) in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was for the last four of those years, by appointment of Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Majority Whip, the third ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House. During his tenure, Brademas served on three Committees: Education and Labor, House Administration, and the Joint (House-Senate) Committee on the Library of Congress. As chief House sponsor of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act; Environmental Education Act; Library Services and Construction Act; Arts, Humanities and Cultural Affairs Act; Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act; Museum Services Act; and Older Americans Comprehensive Services Act, Brademas earned a reputation as a leading force in the creation of legislation concerning education, arts and humanities, vocational rehabilitation, services for the elderly and disabled, and libraries and museums. Dr. Brademas is also proud to hold the distinction of being the first native-born American of Greek origin elected to Congress.
After leaving Congress, Brademas continued his distinguished career by pursuing his passion for education and serving as President of New York University from 1981 to 1992. During that time, he led the transition of NYU from a regional commuter school to a national and international residential research university.
Former Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Brademas is president of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center of New York University Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the National Academy of Education (USA), The Academy of Athens, European Academy of Science and Arts, and National Academy of Education of Argentina. In 2004 he was elected to the New York State Board of Regents by the New York State Legislature.
A graduate of Harvard, B.A., magna cum laude, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned his Ph.D. He has been awarded honorary degrees by 52 colleges and universities, the most recent by the University of Oxford (2003). Among other honors he has received is the Hubert H. Humphrey Award of the American Political Science Association for outstanding public service by a political scientist.
I am honored to introduce the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
The Center is one of the first of its kind to pursue a rigorous study of Congress as a policy-making institution. The Center will enhance both scholarly and public understanding of the role of Congress in writing the nation’s laws and forging its policies.
With our separation-of-powers Constitution, Congress, unlike the legislative body in a parliamentary system, exercises great power in the making of national policy. But with 100 Senators and 435 Representatives and, customarily, no strict party discipline, Congress is not an easy institution to understand, even for the well-informed.
The Brademas Center will be a place to which we shall invite Presidents, Senators and Representatives—current and former, Democrats and Republicans; Cabinet Secretaries and other Executive Branch officials; judges; Congressional staffers; parliamentarians from other countries; journalists; and scholars and students to meet to discuss both the processes by which Congress shapes policy and substantive issues facing our nation. Through an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Congress, we seek to illumine both academic and public understanding of what the Constitution designates “The First Branch” of the Federal Government.