Academic Leadership Award Recognizes Seven University Presidents


$500,000 awarded to each winner to inspire initiatives that benefit students, institutions, and communities.

2017 Academic Leadership Award Winners

Carnegie Corporation of New York today named seven exceptional American college and university presidents as recipients of its Academic Leadership Award. The honor consists of $500,000 in support for each winner’s academic initiatives.


The award recognizes educators who, in addition to fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity, demonstrate vision and an outstanding commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, the liberal arts, equal opportunity, the development of major interdisciplinary programs, international engagement, and the promotion of strong ties between their institutions and their local communities. The 2017 honorees are:

Established in 2005, the award reflects the conviction of Andrew Carnegie, the Corporation’s philanthropic founder, that education and knowledge are fundamental tools for strengthening democracy and creating a more vibrant civil society.

“There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, which play a fundamental role in educating the next generation of our workforce, leaders, and citizens. Our higher education institutions are central to the future of our nation,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “Andrew Carnegie believed in the importance of strong, dedicated, and effective higher education leaders. As custodians of Mr. Carnegie’s legacy, it is our honor to salute a new class of exemplary leaders, who join with another 20 past award recipients in representing some of the best of the American academy.”

The Corporation will provide funding to each awardee’s institution to support special programs developed by the recipient. Some of the exemplary accomplishments of the 2017 honorees include:


Past recipients 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
  • Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins University
  • Matthew Goldstein, 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
  • Patricia A. McGuire, Trinity Washington University
  • Diana Natalicio, University of Texas at El Paso
  • C.L. Max Nikias, University of Southern California
  • Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade College
  • Don M. Randel, The 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 Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.