James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation, a private, New York City grant-making foundation. Piereson is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York where he is director of the Center for the American University and chairman of the selection committee for the Veritas Fund, which allocates grants to programs on college and university campuses. Piereson was executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation from 1985 to 2005 when the foundation closed its doors. Before joining the John. M. Olin Foundation, he served on the political science faculties of several prominent universities, including Iowa State University (1974), Indiana University (1975), and the University of Pennsylvania (1976–82), where he taught courses on US government and political thought.
Piereson is also trustee of the William E. Simon Foundation and serves on the boards of several other tax-exempt institutions, including the Pinkerton Foundation, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation, the Center for Individual Rights, the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Foundation for Cultural Review (chairman), the American Spectator Foundation, the Hoover Institution, Donors Trust, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He is a member of the selection committee for the Clare Boothe Luce Program for Women in the Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering, and is chairman of the selection committee for the Hayek Book Prize. He is also a member of the Grant Advisory Committee of the Searle Freedom Trust and of the publication committees of City Journal and National Affairs. Piereson is likewise a member of the executive advisory committee of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, of the board of visitors of the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, and of the advisory council of the Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom at Claremont McKenna College.
He is the author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter Books, 2007) and, with J. Sullivan and G. Marcus, of Political Tolerance and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 1982). He is the editor of The Pursuit of Liberty: Can the Ideals That Made America Great Provide a Model for the World (Encounter Books, 2008). He has also published articles and reviews in numerous journals, including Commentary, Philanthropy, The American Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and National Review.