Lee Pelton is the 12th president of Emerson College in Boston. He came to Emerson after serving as the president of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Pelton began his academic career at Harvard University, where he earned a PhD in English literature with an academic focus on 19th-century British prose and poetry. He taught English and American literature at Harvard and served as senior tutor at Winthrop House. He later served on the Harvard Board of Overseers and as a vice-chair of its executive committee. After Harvard, Pelton served as dean of the college at Colgate University and Dartmouth College.

Over the years, Pelton has been active in several higher education associations and cultural organizations including the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (past chair), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities. He serves on the Harvard University Graduate School Alumni Council, the Advisory Committee of Shareholder Responsibility, several Harvard Visiting Committees, including long-time chair of the Committee to Visit Harvard College. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Boston Chamber of Commerce, Museum of African American History (Boston), the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the Boston Arts Academy (chair), and the Council of Independent Colleges, as well as the advisory boards of Harvard Magazine and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Fine Arts and Trinity College (Hartford), and on the on the Board of Overseers at WGBH (Boston).