2015 Academic Leadership Awards Announced

Academic Leadership Award Winners 2015

New York, NY September 24, 2015––Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced the recipients of its prestigious 2015 Academic Leadership Award. These four exceptional leaders of American universities are being recognized for demonstrating vision and outstanding commitment to excellence and equity in undergraduate education, in addition to fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity.

Each honoree’s institution will receive a grant of $500,000 to be used toward furthering the winner’s notable academic initiatives.  The 2015 honorees are:

  • Ronald J. Daniels: President, Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore, Maryland
  • Patricia A. McGuire: President, Trinity Washington University; Washington, D.C.
  • Diana Natalicio: President, The University of Texas at El Paso; El Paso, Texas
  • C.L. Max Nikias: President, University of Southern California; Los Angeles, California

The Academic Leadership Award was established in 2005 in honor of Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to education and the diffusion of knowledge as fundamental tools for building a strong society and democracy.

“The United States is blessed with thousands of universities and colleges that enrich our society and our democracy and prepare the next generation of specialists, leaders, and citizens. This award recognizes some exemplary leaders of those institutions, who embody the best qualities of leadership—not merely managerial skills, but institutional vision and an abiding commitment to high quality, diversity, curricular innovation, and investment in their communities,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “I am extremely proud to count this year’s recipients among the 20 college and university presidents the Corporation has honored with the Academic Leadership Award over the past 10 years.”

The award, which is given every two years, recognizes exemplary university presidents who display a commitment to the liberal arts, excellence and access, curricular innovation, the development of major interdisciplinary programs, reform of K-12 education, international engagement, and the promotion of strong links between their institutions and their local communities.

Notable accomplishments of the 2015 honorees include:

Ronald J. Daniels
Since 2009, Daniels has served as the President of Johns Hopkins University, where he has focused on three overarching themes––enhanced collaboration among the university’s nine academic divisions and applied physics laboratory, increased student access, and strengthened community engagement. President Daniels has:

  • Increased undergraduate grant aid by nearly 40 percent; expanded the enrollment of minorities from 12 percent to 23 percent of the entering class; and broadened the “JUMP” program to support underrepresented students pursuing careers in health-related fields.
  • Launched a series of multidisciplinary initiatives to address fundamental societal problems and created 50 interdisciplinary Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships to link university divisions; supported innovations in undergraduate science and Ph.D. education and increased the university’s activities in translating pure research findings into practical solutions.
  • Expanded Johns Hopkins’ commitment to Baltimore by spearheading the university’s support for the $1.8 billion East Baltimore Development Initiative, including building and operating the first new K-8 public school constructed in East Baltimore in more than two decades; and helped to establish a community partnership initiative among ten neighborhoods near the university’s Homewood campus, focused on educational opportunity and economic growth.

Patricia A. McGuire
Patricia McGuire became President of Trinity Washington University in 1989. Since then, she has transformed a small, Catholic women’s college with a dwindling enrollment into a thriving university best known for serving economically disadvantaged students of color from the D.C. community. In effect, she has brought Trinity back, full circle, to its 1897 founding mission: making higher education “accessible to women to whom it was denied.” President McGuire has:

  • Revitalized Trinity’s commitment to the College of Arts and Sciences, the historic women’s college, and added the Schools of Education, Professional Studies, Business and Graduate Studies, and Nursing and Health Professions, all of which are part-time evening and weekend programs, and are coeducational.
  • Forged new partnerships with a wide range of community-based organizations and scholarship programs focused on expanding access to higher education.
  • Created a multifaceted approach to retaining and ensuring the academic success of students including “care teams” to monitor students for signs of distress, with remedies ranging from emergency subway cards and a campus food pantry to intensive mentoring and specially designed curriculums.
  • Developed and led two capital campaigns that raised more than $70 million and funded the construction of the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports, a state-of-the-art athletics complex that serves students and neighbors in the surrounding communities, and a new academic center currently under construction that will provide classrooms and science and nursing labs.

Diana Natalicio
Diana Natalicio became President of The University of Texas at El Paso in 1988, and since then, has transformed a small, regional university for commuters into a national public research university. In the process, she has created a model for helping Hispanic students succeed. In a city where four out of five residents are Hispanic, President Natalicio has focused on access and affordability for students, most of whom are low income and the first in their families to attend college. Among her accomplishments, President Natalicio has:

  • Worked to make the university better reflect the region’s demographics by recruiting more Hispanic faculty members, currently about 36% overall; created graduate programs that capitalize on UTEP’s proximity to Mexico such as a Ph.D. in U.S-Mexico Borderlands History.
  • Led in the formation of a partnership with El Paso Community College, 12 local school districts, and community leaders to raise educational aspirations and attainment, revamp teacher training, and improve curriculums in subjects such as high school math and science, and as a result, successfully preparing more graduates for college-level work, and closing the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students.
  • Implemented a highly successful program to collect and analyze data from each department and on each student as a way to track progress and develop appropriate interventions that improve performance and retention, including direct follow up with students at risk of dropping out.

C. L. Max Nikias
President Nikias came to the University of Southern California in 1991, teaching both electrical engineering and the classics. He served as dean and provost before being named president in 2010. He is a strong advocate of the role of research universities as economic and cultural drivers and of the importance of the liberal arts and humanities. President Nikias has:

  • Led a transformative fundraising campaign that has allowed the university to expand financial aid significantly, providing $300 million annually in merit and needs-based aid, and to launch more than a dozen major construction projects, including USC Village, a 15-acre residential and retail development.
  • Focused on the recruitment of outstanding faculty members who work across multiple schools and disciplines; invested heavily in various biomedical research programs resulting in breakthroughs in areas such as brain imaging, treatment for AIDS, and the world’s first artificial retina, while providing research opportunities for undergraduates and summer internships for local high school students.
  • Boosted international agreements for research partnerships and academic exchanges by 80% since 2011 and expanded admissions with recruiters now visiting 15 countries. As a result, USC has enrolled more international students than any other university in the United States over the last five years.

Past winners of the Academic Leadership Award:
Henry S. Bienen, Northwestern University
Robert J. Birgeneau, University of California, Berkeley
Leon Botstein, Bard College
Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University
Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University
Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University
Scott S. Cowen, Tulane University
Michael M. Crow, Arizona State University
Matthew Goldstein, The City University of New York
Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
John L. Hennessy, Stanford University
Freeman A. Hrabowski III, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
William E. Kirwan, University System of Maryland
Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade College
Don M. Randel, University of Chicago
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman College

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work 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.