Carnegie Corporation Board of Trustees Honors Retiring Member Dr. Susan Hockfield

Susan Hockfield
Susan Hockfield. Photo: David Sella

New York, New York, December 4, 2014 — The Board of Trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York honored board member Dr. Susan Hockfield during today’s quarterly meeting, thanking her for eight years of service while noting her role as a leader in higher education and in the field of neuroscience. Dr. Hockfield is completing her second four-year term on the Corporation Board.

“Susan’s contributions to the Corporation, serving as chair of the Committee on Trustees, have been extensive, with a generous investment of time and experience,” said Thomas H. Kean, former governor of New Jersey and board chair. “We are the beneficiaries of her many insights in the areas of education, science, and technology, in addition to her wit and wisdom.” 

“Carnegie Corporation has been fortunate to have many great trustees in its history, and Susan Hockfield is one of them,” said Corporation president Vartan Gregorian. “Her keen intellect and utter integrity have always provided solid foundations for every leadership position that Susan has assumed—whether as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and then provost at Yale, or as the first female president of M.I.T. We are grateful to Susan for giving the Corporation eight years of her time, spirit, and knowledge.” 

Dr. Hockfield was the sixteenth president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2004 through 2012. She is a distinguished neuroscientist whose research has focused on the development of the brain and on glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. Dr. Hockfield holds a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

Before assuming the presidency of MIT, Hockfield was the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology at Yale University, where she joined the faculty in 1985. Hockfield was named dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and later provost. She earned a reputation as a strong, innovative leader who encouraged collaborative work, including cross-disciplinary initiatives between the humanities, social sciences, and the sciences. Dr. Hockfield directed the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Neurobiology Program from 1985 to 1997, concurrent with her teaching post at Yale.

Dr. Hockfield’s research into brain development and brain cancer involved the pioneering the use of monoclonal antibody technology, which led to her discovery of a protein that regulates changes in neuronal structure as a result of an animal's early life experiences. Later research led to the discovery of a gene and its family of protein products that play a critical role in the spread of cancer in the brain. 

Dr. Hockfield earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, while carrying out her dissertation research in neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health. 

An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Hockfield serves as a director of the Council on Foreign Relations, General Electric Company, Qualcomm Incorporated, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, as a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the World Economic Forum Foundation Board. She also served as a U.S. Science Envoy to Turkey with the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Hockfield holds numerous honorary degrees from institutions including Brown University, Duke University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Tsinghua University (Beijing), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris), University of Rochester, and the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  Her accomplishments have also been recognized by many awards: the Charles Judson Herrick Award from the American Association of Anatomists; the Wilbur Lucius Cross Award from the Yale University Graduate School; the Amelia Earhart Award from the Women’s Union; the Edison Achievement Award, and the Pinnacle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. 

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's agenda focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.