Professor Jonathan Steinberg
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History (Emeritus), University of Pennsylvania
Emeritus Fellow, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, England
Former Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, 2000-2015
Keynote Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

We are honored to welcome as our Commencement Speaker Jonathan Steinberg, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History (Emeritus), at the University of Pennsylvania, Emeritus Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, England, and Former Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania (2000-2015).

Professor Steinberg is a leading authority in the history of 20th century Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, about which he has written and taught extensively. Professor Steinberg graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1955 and was awarded a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1966. He began his tenure at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 after more than thirty years at Cambridge University, where he was The Leslie Stephen Lecturer in 1999, Reader in European History, Fellow of Trinity Hall, and Vice-Master.

Among his many publications, Professor Steinberg is the author of Why Switzerland? The book’s 3rd edition was issued in 2016 with a new chapter “Why Italian-Speaking Switzerland?”. He also wrote Bismarck. A Life (2011), a New York Times bestselling biography of Otto von Bismarck that was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction and for the Duff Cooper Prize for biography in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The book was reviewed by Henry Kissinger in The New York Times Book Review, who called it “the best study of its subject in the English language”.

Steinberg served as an expert witness in the Commonwealth of Australia War Crimes prosecution. He was also appointed to the Historical Commission of the Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt am Main to examine bank activity and gold transactions during World War II. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland, and of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets. Professor Steinberg’s significant contributions to Franklin include his generous donation of a collection of 2,300 research materials focusing on Switzerland and its history, politics, and culture.