Top Heading for Michael McDonald's Website Portrait of Michael McDonald by Rhoda Baer
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Michael McDonald received his Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the Catholic University of America. He also holds a J.D. from the National Law Center at George Washington University and is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1988 to 2002, Mr. McDonald was on the Board of Directors and President of the Center for Individual Rights, a non-profit public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C. that he co-founded that specialized in constitutional litigation in the federal district and appellate courts. In 2000, The National Law Journal named Mr. McDonald one of the 100 “most influential lawyers in America,” a category it defined as lawyers who “had a national impact in their fields and beyond…lawyers who have the power to shape public affairs, launch industries, shake things up and get things done.”

In 2003, Mr. McDonald went to work at the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 2006 to 2008, he held the position of Assistant Chairman for Programs. In that capacity, he managed 75 people and ensured that $65.2 million of congressionally-appropriated funds (one half of the Endowment’s workforce and nearly one half of its budget) were spent in the most effective ways possible to advance the agency’s core mission of serving and enhancing the study of the humanities. Mr. McDonald is currently employed as the NEH’s General Counsel and, as such, is the Endowment’s chief attorney in all legal matters concerning all facets of its operations.

Mr. McDonald has written dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and legal journals, principally in the area of freedom of speech. He has also contributed numerous scholarly articles and reviews on modern French and Italian literature to publications such as The New Criterion, Commentary, The Wilson Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, The American Scholar, The National Interest, The Italian Quarterly, The International Review of Modernism, The Journal of European Studies, The American Interest, The Times Literary Supplement and The Weekly Standard. He is an occasional contributor to the newspaper Il Foglio in Italy and he is presently writing a biography of the Italian novelist and journalist Curzio Malaparte.

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McDonald Portraits by Rhoda Baer
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