“The Center for The Study of Transformative Lives at NYU is a truly inspiring concept that brings into sharp focus the essence of great leaders. At a time when we face so many seemingly insurmountable challenges, cool reflection about the lives of those who have changed the world points to ways in which we can continue to move toward a more just and sustainable society.” -- Sir Peter Crane, former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

"The message is positive, and urgently needed in a world where young people are increasingly surrounded by cynicism and despair…This Center is one of the great initiatives in teaching and learning today." -- David Hackett Fischer, historian and advisor, Brandeis University

“I love the way the Center promotes what’s essential about biography—by providing examples of lives well (or poorly) lived, that move and inspire and educate us about how we might conduct our own lives. The Center promotes that aspect of biography, which is both its fundamental basis and its highest achievement.”  -- Megan Marshall, Emerson College

“Philip Kunhardt has conceived a unique and important center about transformative lives that promises to be much more than simply a center for the study of biography.  It will be a place preserving something old and lasting -- a space to learn why individual lives, great and ordinary, matter in history as well as in the ever sovereign present.” -- David Blight, Yale University

"In creating the Center for the Study of Transformative Lives, Philip Kunhardt has latched onto the splendid idea of plumbing extraordinary lives for all the richness and meaning they can yield to contemporary students and readers, young and old. To my mind, his approach can serve as a perfect antidote to contemporary despair, a stimulant to a deeper and more engaged reading of history, and a tonic for those who look to revered figures of the past for fresh inspiration in dealing with our present-day moral dilemmas." -- Ron Chernow, award-winning biographer

"To witness a life well lived is to be admonished and inspired to do better with our own opportunities and talents. The Center for Transformative Lives does invaluable work by placing such lives before us." -- Andrew Delbanco, Columbia University

"Philip Kunhardt's teaching…his patient, painstaking focus on biography has the effect of dramatizing experiences close to students’ own….As a scholar of antebellum American literature I am moved by his ability to use the writings of Emerson and Thoreau to open up existential questions about self-development, moral imagination, and the promise of every individual's life that I think belong at the heart of liberal education." -- Thomas Augst, Chair, Department of English, New York University