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Sanford J. "Sandy" Ungar (born 1945) is an American journalist, author, and the inaugural director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University. He was the tenth president of Goucher College and the 24th director of Voice of America.

Sanford J. Ungar
Sanford J. Ungar at a Public Interest Declassification Board meeting (Cropped).jpg
1st Director of The Georgetown University Free Speech Project
Assumed office
2014 (2014)
Preceded byPosition established
10th President of Goucher College
In office
July 1, 2001 (2001-07-01) – June 30, 2014 (2014-06-30)
Preceded byRobert S. Welch (acting)
Succeeded byJosé Antonio Bowen
24th Director Voice of America
In office
1999 (1999) – 2001 (2001)
Preceded byEvelyn S. Lieberman
Succeeded byRobert R. Reilly
Dean of American University School of Communication
In office
1986 (1986) – 1999 (1999)
Weekday Host of All Things Considered
In office
1980 (1980) – 1982 (1982)
Preceded byBob Edwards
Succeeded byNoah Adams
Personal details
ChildrenLida, Philip
Alma materHarvard College (B.A.)
London School of Economics and Political Science (M.Sc.)


Early life and educationEdit

Ungar was born in 1945, the youngest of five children.[1] His mother, Tillie Landau, born 1901 in Chrenif, a small village near Lviv, Ukraine, (then the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia) to a Jewish family; in 1908, the seven year-old Tillie immigrated with her family to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to escape the poverty of her shtetl.[1] His father, Max Ungar, born 1895 in Tussa, Kingdom of Hungary (now Tušice, Slovakia) to a Jewish family; around 1910, the 15-year-old Max immigrated to the United States where he served in World War I and later opened a grocery store.[1] Ungar was raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania where he attended Kingston High School.[1] Several members of Ungar's family were killed in the Holocaust.[1] As a child, Ungar was frightened by the stories told by several of his cousins who were holocaust survivors.[1]

Ungar obtained a bachelor's degree in Government magna cum laude from Harvard College and a master's degree in international history from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Rotary Foundation fellow.[2]


Upon completing graduate school, Ungar lived outside of the United States for three years.[3] He initially intended to become a lawyer before becoming interested in "international opportunities."[3] During his time abroad, he was a correspondent for United Press International in Paris and for Newsweek in Nairobi. Upon returning to the United States, Ungar began work as a print journalist for The Washington Post.[3] He also wrote for The Atlantic and The Economist before working in an editorial position for the Foreign Policy.[3][4] In 1975, he published FBI: An Uncensored Look Behind the Walls.

From 1980–1982, he was the weekday host of NPR's All Things Considered.[4] He has also appeared on public, commercial, and cable television, as a commentator or as the moderator of debates. In 1985, Ungar published Estrangement: America and the World, a collection of essays he edited while a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ungar has spoken frequently around the United States and in other countries on issues of American foreign policy and domestic politics, free expression, human rights, and immigration.

External video
  Booknotes interview with Ungar on Fresh Blood, November 26, 1995, C-SPAN
  Presentation by Ungar on Fresh Blood at the U.S. State Department, August 2, 1999

From 1986 until 1999, he was Dean of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC.[5] In 1998, Ungar published Fresh Blood: The New American Immigrants. The following year he published another, Africa: The People and Politics of an Emerging Continent.

Ungar was the 24th director of the Voice of America, the U.S. government’s principal international broadcasting agency, from 1999–2001.[4][6][7] In that capacity, he oversaw more than 900 hours a week of VOA broadcasts in English and 52 other languages to some 100 million people around the world.

Ungar became the tenth President of Goucher College on July 1, 2001.[8] In 2006, Ungar instituted a mandatory study abroad requirement for all students.[5] Ungar resigned as president of Goucher on June 30, 2014 after being away on sabbatical.[5]

In the fall of 2014, Ungar taught a freshman seminar as a visiting professor at Harvard College called Free Speech, a course he previously taught at Goucher.[3][9] He joined the faculty of Georgetown University Spring 2015. At Georgetown, he is the director of the Free Speech Project which is a grant recipient of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.[10] Ungar is a Lumina Foundation Fellow.[10]

Honors and awardsEdit

In 1972, Ungar won a George Polk Award for his book, The Papers & The Papers: An Account of the Legal and Political Battle over the Pentagon Papers. In May 1999 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Wilkes University in his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He has traveled widely in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia; he is fluent in French and also speaks Spanish. He serves on the boards of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and is past chair of the Maryland Independent College and University Association. Mr. Ungar is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he is an appointed member of the U.S. Public Interest Declassification Board. In June 2000, at its annual convention in Buenos Aires, the Rotary Foundation gave him its Scholar Alumni Achievement Award.

Personal lifeEdit

Ungar lives in Baltimore and Washington with his wife, Beth Ungar, a physician in the practice of internal medicine. They have a daughter, Lida, and a son, Philip.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ungar, Sanford J. (1995). Fresh blood: the new American immigrants. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252067020. OCLC 37527688.
  2. ^ Estrera, Elc (2013-03-01). "Pathways to Opportunity: An Interview with Goucher College President Sanford J. Ungar". Chicago Policy Review. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  3. ^ a b c d e Brunjes, Alexandra (2016-10-13). "Sanford Ungar". The Hoya. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  4. ^ a b c Hall, Tom; Purdy, Matt. "Goucher College President Sandy Ungar on the Value of Liberal Arts Study". WYPR. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  5. ^ a b c Duncan, Ian (2013-06-29). "President of Goucher college to step down". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  6. ^ Voice of America. (2012-05-01) Sandy Ungar, retrieved 2018-02-05
  7. ^ "Sanford J. Unger, Director of Voice of America - Collection Finding Aid · Clinton Digital Library". Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  8. ^ Ramakrishnan, Hema (2013-01-21). "We prepare students for their last job, says Sanford J Ungar". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  9. ^ "My Freshman Seminar: Free Speech". Harvard College. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  10. ^ a b Ungar, Sanford J. (2017-08-28). "Leaks are actually the lifeblood of American democracy". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-01-03.

External linksEdit