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Bennett, William J. (1943–)

WILLIAM JOHN BENNETT was born in Brooklyn, New York. Strong academically, Bennett graduated from Williams College with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to study at the University of Texas, where he obtained a Ph.D. in political philosophy. Later, he studied at Harvard Law School and obtained a law degree as well.

In 1976, Bennett was the executive director of the National Humanities Center, an academic research center located in North Carolina. He was the director until 1981. At that time, President Ronald Reagan selected Bennett to become the director of the National Endowment for the Humanities. His tenure there lasted until 1985, when Reagan selected him to become the secretary of education.

As secretary of education, Bennett was unable to avoid controversy over many ...

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