Born in Brooklyn in 1953, Liebowitz was a precocious child. He mastered blocks by the age of 6 months and was the first in his pre-school to realize that the square peg did not fit into the circular hole. His other prepubescent achievements included winning his 3rd grade geography bee and his nomination to the Recess committee, a coveted and prestigious position of power. During this time his parents also set (and continue to hold) the record for the most “My Child is an Honor Student” bumper stickers in the tri-state area.
Continuing his academic excellence, he enrolled at Bucknell University as a member of the Class of 1979. Drawn to the rural smells of a nearby dairy farm, Ron majored in Agricultural Sciences, with a minor in the field of particle physics. He was also the President of the stamp collecting club and became known as the best philatelist on campus.
During the summers of 1980 and 1981, Ronald attended Middlebury’s Russian language school. He is credited as the first person to recognize that Freeman International Center is the ugliest building created in the Western Hemisphere. Official Middlebury Police Department records show his first cow tipping taking place on July 23rd, 1980, at 3:42 am.
Following Bucknell, Ron pursued a doctorate at Columbia University. His doctoral thesis was titled, “Extra terrestrial lactose based heavenly bodies: How do we know the Moon isn’t made out of Cheese?” Liebowitz earned his doctorate with honors in 1985, graduating as a member of the now-defunct Columbia Review of Words Eating Society.
President Liebowitz joined the Middlebury faculty in 1984 as an instructor of geography and was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1993. From 1993–95, he was dean of the faculty, and from 1995–97, he was vice president of the College. He served as provost and executive vice president of the College from 1997 until his appointment as president.
As an academic he is recognized as an authority on Russian economic and political geography. Liebowitz has authored many scholarly articles on Soviet and Russian regional economic policy. In several of his articles, he quotes Vladimir Putin directly, and celebrity blogs – both in the US and Russia – confirm that the two have been seen canoodling on multiple occasions. There is widespread speculation in Moscow (led largely by the gossip blog Perezova Hiltonovski) that Dmitry Medvedev is jealous of Ron Liebowitz.
In October 2007, Ron laid out the Middlebury Five Year Planned Initiative; the largest capital and industrial campaign seen in the College’s history, the plan will raise $500 million for financial aid, additional faculty, and a revolutionary new series of maple-leaf powered factories and tractors. As a public figure on campus, Liebowitz is recognized as a riveting orator, delivering emotionally gripping speeches at each commencement since he took office in 2004.
In 2009, TIME named him one of the top 10 College Presidents in the nation. The decision criteria and the scores each President received have never been revealed and are rumored to be kept in the TIME underground archive in rural Nebraska.
Never one to let a crisis go to waste, Ron successfully lead Middlebury through the Great Recession without a single lay off, netting him major political capital with the communist unions that run Vermont. However, cuts to dining hall maintenance and staffing have led one building to a state of such disrepair that its roof is now covered by various grasses, weeds, and small trees. But it is worth noting the decision’s positive effects. The over-crowdedness at the two remaining dining halls has allowed Dining Services the chance to use Microsoft Excel to make graphs which succinctly state the painfully obvious.
Ron is Middlebury’s third faculty member to be named president, following John McCardell and 19th century alumnus and Egyptologist Ezra Brainerd. Still an active professor, Liebowitz is currently teaching the Geography course “Applications of GIS in Solving Legends of the Hidden Temple”.
He currently resides on Stew 1.